Diabetes, eye your eyes. On Saturday 17 September, the Ophthalmology department of the Paolo Giaccone University Hospital currently located at the Belmonte hospital in Palermo, directed by Professor Salvatore Cillino, organizes an open day of free visits dedicated to people with diabetes over 40.
“In our region, retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy affect about a third of the diabetic population and about 2% of patients with diabetes develop the most severe form of this complication and 6% develop diabetic macular edema – says Professor Vincenza. Bonfiglio, associate professor at the Palermo Eye Clinic. These incidences become even more dramatic when we consider that the prevalence of diabetes mellitus has been steadily increasing in recent decades. Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the most common and feared complications of diabetes mellitus, the onset of which is closely related to the duration of the disease and poor glycemic compensation. These complications have a strong individual and social impact as they lead to difficulty in carrying out daily activities such as driving, reading, doing housework up to severe vision loss in the most severe forms. The fact that ocular involvement often has an insidious onset and the symptoms related to retinal damage induced by diabetes (diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema) are mild or absent unfortunately leads to a delay in diagnosis “.
In this situation, the timeliness of intercepting this disease in the early stages is important. Early diagnosis and timely access to effective therapies can in many cases be sight-saving. “We welcome the ‘Diabetes, eye to sight’ campaign which sees some of the ophthalmologists of the Belmonte Presidium led by the doctors responsible for retinal diseases (Professor Vincenza Bonfiglio and Professor Maria Vadalà) engaged in the front line in raising awareness among the adult population with diabetes about possible complications affecting the retina and the importance of periodic visits, as well as informing them of the possible therapies available today ”adds Professor Vincenza Bonfiglio.
People with diabetes, especially after the age of 40, should periodically undergo fundus examination, even in the absence of specific symptoms, in order to be able to identify the appearance of lesions early before the development of further disabling and irreversible complications for the vision. The “Diabetes, eye to sight” campaign is promoted by Diabete Italia Onlus in collaboration with various eye care centers and is supported with the unconditional support of Allergan, a company of the AbbVie group.
“We are happy to promote this campaign that involves several hospitals in Italy thanks to the precious collaboration with specialists, in favor of the most fragile patients – declares Stefano Nervo, president of Diabete Italia Onlus -. Screening programs have a strong social impact as retinal diseases that can affect diabetics remain asymptomatic for a long time. For this reason, people with diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema often arrive at the diagnosis late. But it would be enough to undergo regular eye checks to significantly reduce the serious visual complications “.
The ophthalmologist specialists of the Belmonte Presidium of Palermo will be available for a free visit and for information on prevention. The eye exams (fundus examination and Oct) will be aimed at the early detection of complications of diabetes affecting the eye such as retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. To access the free visits, a reservation must be made by calling the toll-free number 800.200.203 from Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 13.00. The visits can be booked while seats are available. The use of a consultation does not imply priority for the booking of subsequent visits or diagnostic services, which must then be booked according to the procedures established by the local health authorities.
A new diagnosis of diabetes is made every minute in Italy. According to the Italian Barometer Diabetes Observatory, there are about 3.5 million Italians suffering from diabetes, 6% of the adult population. Diabetes-related diseases of the retina are among the leading causes of blindness in the world. It is estimated that after 20 years of diabetes, more than 90% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 60% of those with type 2 diabetes have signs of diabetic retinopathy.
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