Local August 5, 2022 | 3:18 pm

Untreated diabetes causes serious vision damage or blindness

People who are diabetic and do not know it are at risk of losing their vision.

Santo Domingo, DR.
One of the most frequent complications among people with diabetes who do not receive adequate treatment is diabetic retinopathy, which can seriously affect vision and even lead to vision loss.

Hence the importance, explains Dr. Rosa Fernandez, head of the Ophthalmology Department of the National Institute of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Nutrition (INDEN), that people have routine eye checkups since a large part of the population with diabetes are unaware that they have this condition.

“We receive approximately 80 to 90% of diabetic patients in the ophthalmology consultation and of them 25 to 30% already suffer from diabetic retinopathy that can affect vision significantly, even losing vision,” said the specialist on the subject interviewed along with directors of the specialized diabetes center, which each year offers about 75 thousand consultations.

He explained that diabetes affects the small blood vessels of the retina and produces diabetic retinopathy, a disease that is one of the most important complications of diabetes at the ocular level.

He said that there are other diseases associated with diabetes, such as glaucoma and cataract, which ideally should be detected early, for which it is important that the patient has been diagnosed early with this condition.

“It is important to have a routine ophthalmology checkup not only for people with diabetes, but also for the population in general, because the number of people who are unaware that they have this condition is high,” warned the specialist.

In turn, Dr. Elisabeth Cuevas said that the pediatric department of the institution follows up on children diagnosed with the disease and also follows up on their immediate family members.

She said that of the patients who come to the center for pediatric consultation, more than 50% have type two diabetes, which is alarming. She explained that children were diagnosed with type I diabetes ten years ago, but now it is being seen in children and adolescents.

The specialist understands that one of the strategies that the country has failed is to institutionalize healthy snacks in the cafeterias of schools and colleges, to stop the increase of diabetes in children and adolescents, mostly associated to obesity.

Inden specialists referred to the subject during a meeting with the press, headed by its director Dr. Ammar Ibrahim, where they gave details this week of the activities to be carried out to commemorate August as Diabetes Month, which this year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the institute.

50 years of INDEN
The National Institute of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Nutrition (INDEN) was founded in 1972 as an initiative of Dr. Jorge Abraham Hazoury Bahles and since then has been treating patients with a team of diabetologists, nutritionists, and endocrinologists who provide specialized medications at low cost. It also performs diagnostic studies and teaches and training of specialists.

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