KARACHI: Sanofi Pakistan announced that Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is an important cause of impaired vision in patients between 25 and 74 years of age. A vast majority of patients who develop DR are not aware of it until the very late stages – they confuse it with the aging process.
The VISION study was conducted in nine cities across Pakistan. Upon analysis of the data of over 200 diabetic patients with an average age of 53 years, it was found that the prevalence of DR in this study population was as high as 57%. These patients had been suffering from diabetes for an average of eight years with poor control (HbA1c over 9%) over their blood glucose levels. The patients had been recruited from 25 selected general practice clinics according to defined parameters.
“Every diabetic person should be made aware of the importance of regular ophthalmologic examination by his / her primary health care physician” said the lead investigator Dr. Mehreen Sohail (Eye Specialist, Avicenna Medical College & Hospital, Lahore), while referring to the study finding that over 75% diabetic persons have never been assessed for DR. She added: “many patients only seek medical advice after the partial or complete loss of vision in one eye. At that point there is little we doctors can do. Patients must take their prescribed medications regularly, in the prescribed dosage to avoid the onset of DR and other diabetes-related complications.”
The complications of uncontrolled diabetes can severely compromise the quality of life and include loss of vision, loss of limb (s) and kidney failure. However, optimal therapy can go a long way in helping by retarding or minimizing the progress.