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Diabetes mellitus and blindness

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month and on November 14 every year, we celebrate World Diabetes Day. This day was chosen to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.{{more}}

Diabetes mellitus is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. It encompasses a wide range of problems that affect the eyes. Some people may not even realize they have diabetes until they begin to experience problems with their vision.

Apart from blurring of vision, diabetes increases the risk for developing glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes can lead to complications over time. These complications are:

1. Retinopathy (diabetic eye disease) – can lead to blindness.

2. Neuropathy (disease of the nerve) – can lead to foot ulcers and abnormal blood circulation in the legs.

3. Nephropathy (disease of the kidneys) – can lead to kidney failure.

4. Coronary heart disease – can lead to heart attacks.

5. Cerebrovascular disease – can lead to stroke.

Here are some tips for controlling diabetes:

1. Maintain a normal weight.

2. Watch your diet.

-cut out unhealthy fats.

– replace complex carbohydrates with simple carbohydrates.

– exercise at least thirty (30) minutes three to four (3-4) times a week.

– avoid smoking (this includes second hand smoke).

3. Monitor blood sugars.

4. If you are diabetic, use your medications religiously.

5. Monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis.

6. Check your general doctor and eye doctor on a regular basis.

Please look out for radio and television promotional events, free screening for diabetes and its complications. The blue circle is the symbol for diabetes awareness. Please try to sport this logo wherever you are.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com
Tel: 784 456-1210

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