One in four patients with diabetes in Bangladesh could lose their eyesight due to diabetes retinopathy, it has been estimated.
Abu Raiha, Regional Director in Asia for ORBIS, a pioneer in global eye health, believes this is a “conservative estimate”, with between eight and 10 per cent of the total Bangladesh population currently suffering from diabetes.
This equates to about 16 million people, with an explanation widely regarded for this being the prevalence of sweet food in Bengali diets.
“In Bangladesh, where people are not aware of it, we can safely say that one in four diabetic patients suffer from retinopathy,” Raihan said. “The challenge is we have to find them all to treat”.
Improving diabetes eye care
Raihan stated the best way to prevent eye problems in relation to diabetes is to encourage healthy lifestyles and exceptional diabetes control.
A proposal of universal eye care has been made by Raiha, with annual eye check-ups particularly advised for patients with diabetes over 40 years of age.
“Those who are at risk of diabetes should have annual check-ups,” Raihan said. “Apart from taking care of your eyes, you have to treat diabetes.”
What is diabetes retinopathy?
Diabetes retinopathy occurs before a person ever becomes aware of it. Consistently high blood sugars can lead to leakages when tiny blood vessels of the retina are damaged.
If caught early, the condition can be treated, but delayed diagnosis and uncontrolled diabetes could lead to total loss of eyesight.
Maintaining excellent control of your diabetes and regularly receiving eye check-ups can prevent diabetes retinopathy from developing.
Even small, sustained improvements in blood glucose control can help to reduce the most serious outcomes of retinopathy.

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