Diabetes and Blindness

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Diabetic Eye Disease

A person’s eyesight is usually taken for granted until this gift is suddenly taken away from them.

An estimated 16 500 Namibians will develop severe diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss or blindness. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes.

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease related to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. It can be prevented by making healthier lifestyle choices. The incidence of diabetes and obesity is increasing, with a current estimated 460 million people affected globally.

Diabetes screening, in the form of a finger prick test, can be done by a general practitioner (GP) or pharmacy. There are two types of diabetes:

• Type 1 diabetes, caused by a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin.

• Type 2 diabetes, where the body cannot adequately respond to the available insulin.

As soon as diabetes is diagnosed, every patient should have a baseline eye exam with an ophthalmologist. At diagnosis, the disease may already have been present for a number of years, and severe complications can be present. Thereafter, at minimum, an annual follow-up eye examination is required. If retinopathy is diagnosed, specific treatments and more regular follow-ups are needed.

OELC uses the latest technology, including OXIA Artificial Intelligence (oxia.org). Zeiss high-resolution wide-field retinal photographs are analyzed via AI software and reviewed by a specialist Ophthalmologist to detect diabetic disease. This AI technology also identifies Glaucoma and Age-related macular degeneration, conditions where early detection and treatment are critical.

It is not unusual that people may not be aware of an eye problem until it becomes severe and may not be reversible when eventually seen by a specialist. Any change in vision or a sudden onset of pain or discomfort should prompt patients to seek an eye evaluation as soon as possible!

Contact us at 061-372 600 or visit us at 17 David Carstens Street in Olympia.


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