Bumisuka.com – Diabetic Retinopathy and Vision-threatening Complications of Diabetes. It is not without reason that diabetes is dubbed the mother of all diseases. Because, complications of diabetes can attack various organs, one of which is the eyes.
There are many eye diseases related to diabetes, ranging from diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataracts, glaucoma, and others. To prevent complications, diabetic patients are advised to control blood sugar levels.
Based on this issue, PT Bayer Indonesia held a virtual media briefing with the theme “Avoid, Prevent, and Control Eye Complications in Diabetes Mellitus Patients”
The resource persons presented were Dr. dr. Gitalisa Andayani, SpM(K), a consultant ophthalmologist at RSCM, and Dr. dr. Elvioza, SpM(K), a consultant ophthalmologist at JEC. Check this out!
1. It is a complication of small blood vessels
Complications of diabetes are divided into two, namely complications of small and large blood vessels. Retinopathy is classified as a microvascular (small blood vessel) complication.
According to the definition from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, diabetic retinopathy is a chronic progressive disease of the retinal micro blood vessels that can threaten vision and is associated with prolonged hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels).
2. What is the prevalence in Indonesia?
Doctor Gitalisa described the study he conducted with his colleagues at the RSCM from November 2010 to October 2011. Of the 2,302 diabetic patients at the endocrine clinic, 24.5 percent had diabetic retinopathy.
Meanwhile, at the Puskesmas in Greater Bandung from January 2019 to December 2020, out of 1,835 diabetes mellitus patients, 19.46 percent had diabetic retinopathy. This data is sourced from a study published in the eJournal of Indonesian Medicine Vol 10 No. 1 – April 2022.
3. The impact felt by the patient
Eye complications due to diabetes make a person experience decreased or even loss of vision. As a result, independence, productivity, and ability to perform daily tasks are reduced. They will probably:
- Difficulty reading.
- Difficulty driving, until his driver’s license (SIM) is revoked.
- Difficulty understanding colors.
- Have an increased risk of depression and death.
- Requires the help of others in activities.
4. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk
Duration of diabetes is a major risk factor for diabetic retinopathy. Other risk factors are hyperglycemia, high HbA1c levels, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high fat or lipids in the blood), pregnancy, and nephropathy (kidney disease).
According to dr. Gitalisa, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that provide blood supply to the retina. As a result, retinal blood vessels weaken and leak easily, causing the retina to swell and thicken.
5. Prevent by controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends an HbA1c level of less than 7 percent to reduce the chances of developing microvascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy. However, some patients may require adjustment. For patients with limited life expectancy and severe complications or comorbidities, the recommended HbA1c level is 7.5–8.0 percent.
Another thing that needs to be controlled is blood pressure and cholesterol. According to research cited by dr. Gitalisa, the risk of microvascular disease fell by 37 percent if the patient controlled blood pressure. In addition, the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs was associated with a significantly reduced risk of retinopathy and DME.