The epidemic called diabetes which has fast spread its tentacles across the globe can also lead to blindness if the patient is not careful and alert.
With November being the diabetes awareness month, it is important that diabetics keep going for an eye check-up at least once a year to prevent problems in eyes.
Dr Ryan Beers with Roberts Eyecare said diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans.
"The two main risk factors for developing the diabetic eye disease would be uncontrolled diabetes and spikes in the blood sugar. The main thing there is controlling the diabetes, making sure that's under control all the time," said Dr Beers.
At the American Academy of Optometry's Academy 2014, it was brought to the notice how optometrists can aid fight associated ocular complications.
"According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of all American adults alive today, 40 percent of us will develop Type 2 diabetes within our lifetime," said A Paul Chous, OD.
Jeffry D. Gerson, OD, said, "Around 35 percent of diabetics have diabetic retinopathy. Around seven percent have proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), and seven percent have diabetic macular oedema. And 10 percent have vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (DR). From that perspective, for every 25 exams you do, someone has DR."
India is another country which needs to check the problem of diabetes. The World Health Organisation has estimated that the number of people with diabetes in India will reach 79.4 million in 2030. It was 31.7 million in 2000.
Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, said vision-threatening complications occur when it affects the retina, causing diabetic retinopathy. Among those with Type 2 diabetes, nearly one in five in urban and one in 10 in rural India has diabetic retinopathy.
Visual impairment is found in 4 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy happens to be the second most common reason of visual impairment.
People who have problems of high blood sugar, blood pressure and lipids have more chance of both retinopathy and sight-threatening retinopathy, said Dr Raman. The figure is one in three diabetics who have the combination of these three problems. The risk doubles in people with early kidney damage.
There are few measures to tackle vision problems in diabetics. We get wearable devices that help in early detection of diabetes related nerve damage. Timely monitoring then helps in prevention of eye problems.
We should go for latest drugs. Dr Paul Chous says, "Diabetes drugs like Victoza or Byetta and incretins appear to preserve beta cell mass in addition to showing significant weight loss in clinical trials. But they are available in the form of injections and are quite expensive. This is not so with other commonly available diabetes drugs such as insulin and sulfonylureas but these drugs are reported to cause weight gain, which is a key risk factor of diabetes."
He further added that Invokana, a new class of sodium-glucose co-transport 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors used to treat type 2 diabetes is a good medication for lowering blood sugar levels when used in combination with metformin.
Dietary supplements also play an important role. According to A 67-diabetics interim analysis report, these supplements showed a positive impact on haemoglobin A1c in addition to enhancing patients eye health. Another benefit of dietary supplements is marked reduction in C-reactive protein, which can cause cardiovascular disease.