A look at less visible eye conditions
By: Priscilla Lynch
Apart from the major conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts, there are a number of diseases or accidents that can affect vision and potentially lead to blindness.Trauma, retinal tears and surgery complications can cause retinal detachment, while people with diabetes, poor eyesight and a family history are more at risk.
Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially sight-threatening complication that affects people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects the small blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye, causing them to leak or become blocked. This can lead to blurred vision and even blindness if left untreated. The mainstay of treatment is laser, or injections into the eye, or a combination of both.
There is an ongoing, significant rise in the number of people in Ireland with diabetes – particularly type 2, due to obesity – so diabetic retinopathy is no longer a rare complication. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 65. More than 18,000 people in Ireland are estimated to have diabetic retinopathy, which causes on average one person with diabetes to go blind every week.
It is estimated that 25 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes will have some degree of diabetic retinopathy five years after their symptoms develop, according to the HSE. In the case of type 2 diabetes, 25 per cent of people who do not require insulin will have some degree of diabetic retinopathy five years after the onset of symptoms. The figure is higher for people who require insulin (an estimated 40 per cent who develop diabetic retinopathy at five years). A national screening programme for diabetic retinopathy, called Diabetic RetinaScreen, was launched on a phased basis in 2013. The programme offers regular eye screening to people with diagnosed diabetes, aged 12 years and over, who are registered with the programme. …….
Source: Irish Times