KOTA KINABALU: Overlooked symptoms of eye disease and eye complications can cause blindness if left undiagnosed for a long time, said the Head of Ophthalmology Department Queen Elizabeth Hospital One (QEH1).
Dr Sheena Alexander said diseases such as Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Cataracts can go undiagnosed for a long time and by the time it is, it’s too late to save the person’s vision.
Information from the internet explains that Glaucoma is a disease that is caused by damage in the optic nerves, abnormally high pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) usually, but not always, causes this damage, which may cause gradual loss of vision.
Meanwhile Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluids.
In others, abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
People with this disease may not notice changes to their vision but over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. It usually affects both eyes.
The disease known as Cataracts is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens – which lies behind the iris and the pupils – is a common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. In short, Cataracts usually show with age.
Dr Sheena, also the organising chairperson of the Eye Screening Drive programme at the QEH1 yesterday, said the hospital is hoping to spread more awareness among the public of the importance of eye screenings.
“The eye screening drive programme was held to encourage the public to identify the causes of preventable blindness, eye diseases. This is to ensure patients can get treatment at an early stage to avoid blindness,” she said.
To prevent blindness, we have to diagnose it before the patients develop symptoms of decreased vision.
In a survey which was conducted 10-20 years ago, Dr Sheena said the blindness rate was high but with the availability of better healthcare nowadays, she is positive that the number of patients going blind has decreased.