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Save eye from diabetes

- NRI specialist throws light on threat to vision

‘Silent killer’ diabetes can also make you blind, warned India-born and US-based retina specialist Dr Kamal Kishore at Jhoscon-10, the three-day meet of ophthalmologists that concluded in Ranchi on Sunday.

India, called diabetes capital of the world, needs to sit up and see the writing on the wall.

Kishore, who has treated celebrities like Dalai Lama, said the human eye would be the biggest casualty to diabetics in the next two decades.

“Around eight to 10 per cent of people in their mid-40s worldwide suffer from diabetes. They show signs of retinal damage. The US and other parts of the West have woken up to the dangers of diabetes. India must get prepared,” said the eye expert, in the city on the invitation of Jharkhand Ophthalmological Society and Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital.

Kishore added that with age, muscular degeneration that results in loss of central vision, increases.

“It becomes the common cause of visual impairment. Blood in eyes and contraction complicate problems,” Kishore, who spent years researching on the subject, said.

The good news is that there is cure.

“The key lies in early detection. Research has proved two medications, Avastin and Lucentis, help one overcome muscular degeneration. But treatment has to begin within a week of detection.”

Kishore, who said the challenge now was to reduce treatment cost, also spoke about laser use. Compared to the US, India was quickly progressing in terms of eye care due to low-cost treatment and skilled doctors, he added.

Dr J.S. Titiyal, ophthalmologist from AIIMS, New Delhi, arguably India’s most premier health hub, said changes in India were visible. “Traditionally, doctors preferred cataract to get ripe. Today, it can be treated any time,” he said.

Around 5-6 million Indians were treated in India every year, half the total number of surgeries done in the world.

Dr Bharti Kashyap, Ranchi-based renowned ophthalmologist and a host, said she was happy over the way the meet shaped up. “Live surgeries, seminar papers and interface ensured we in Ranchi knew the latest global trends,” she said.