Dr Manal Taryam, Vice-President of the World Ophthalmology Congress 2012 (WOC2012), told Khaleej Times that diabetic patients should undergo retina photography every three months so that the images can be examined by retina specialists. “Early diagnosis means patients can get treatment before the condition progresses, reducing the level of damage to the eye.” She said that diabetes affects several organs of the body including the eyes, and the condition is known as diabetic retinopathy. “The symptoms include blurred vision, shadows across the field of vision and a slow loss of sight. Left untreated, it can lead to full blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in adults in developed countries.”
Dr Taryam said that diabetes is a serious issue in the UAE and the Middle East because the prevalence of diabetes in the region ranges from 3.5 per cent to 30 per cent. The UAE is highest among member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at a rate of 11.5 per cent to 20 per cent. International and national screening guidelines for diabetic retinopathy are currently implemented in all UAE hospitals, she said.
In Dubai, The Dubai Diabetic Centre is implementing this programme through Telemedicine, in which diabetic patients undergo retina photography every three months.
In other Emirates, primary health care centers provide regular retina examinations to identify early diabetic retinopathy.
At WOC 2012, nine scientific sessions will be dedicated to diabetic retinopathy and several lectures will be presented on this topic during the subspecialty day on February 16, 2012.
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