• by Dr. Z Aleksic

Dealing with Diabetes and the Eye

Introducing Our new Treatment Centre for Diabetes Eye Screening


Are you a diabetic?

Do you know if you are a diabetic?

Do you regularly attend check-ups with your general practitioner?

Do you regularly attend check-ups with your optometrist?


If you have not answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you could unknowingly be persisting through life with diabetic retinopathy.


Optometrists and GPs are the gatekeepers for diabetic retinopathy. They cannot necessarily treat it, but they are the first ones to encounter it or diagnose it.


Diabetes and The Eyes


Due to the close correlation between Diabetes and eyesight problems, it is crucial that these issues are treated correspondingly. Our treatment center is a vehicle for this, as it forms a link between GP visits and the Fundus Camera. This correspondence is crucial, because leaving diabetes-related eyesight issues for very long could lead to the formation of Cataracts, Background Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma or even total loss of sight in extreme circumstances.


Is this only for Diabetics?


Insulin-dependent diabetics are generally diagnosed at a younger age, meaning that this program is even more important for them, as these patients are being exposed to blood-glucose-level fluctuations from a very young age. That being said, those patients are usually much more aware of the eyesight-related problems which accompany Diabetes. On the other hand, non-insulin dependent patients often do not even know that they are diabetic, especially in pre-diabetic states. This can often mean that their eyesight is worsening unknowingly. For this reason, both diabetics and non-diabetics can benefit from our treatment center, as the latter is able to detect fluctuations early which could play a role in various diagnoses.


What We Do


Our treatment center aims to produce a systematic way of monitoring and making early diagnoses of diabetic retinopathy by introducing a crucial step into patients’ GP check-ups. This is to ensure that the patient’s vision is not worsening over time. Because of the way our program is set up, patients can be directed into all the necessary check-ups which enables a better control and detection of eyesight issues early, which then allows for a better prognosis.


Our program is unique to this country because it encompasses the following three essential aspects for this kind of monitoring and diagnosis:


1. The equipment


Fundus Camera

The treatment center firstly utilizes a Fundus Camera; a super specialized camera equipped with high-resolution flash photography. This allows for one of the only ways to observe arteries and veins in the body without being invasive. Through our program, patients can control and detect eyesight issues early, which then entails a better prognosis. The camera is based at our clinics, which is handled by a technician weekly. At the GP, the patient would book to have the photographs done with the clinic, where artificial intelligence will be utilised, meaning that the patient will not even be seeing a doctor. Instead, the technician and the GP will simply receive a report which will indicate whether or not this patient is referable to the specialist.

If it is non-referable, then all that will be needed is to continue to monitor that patient and continue to take photos with the usual GP visits. In this way, a series of photos can be generated to monitor the patient’s history.

On the other hand, if it is referable, then that indicates that immediate attention is necessary. This why this system makes it easier for ophthalmologists and GPs to detect and monitor eyesight issues. Because of the use of artificial intelligence and the Fundus Camera, it also significantly reduces the cost of monitoring diseases.


Argon Laser

The second crucial piece of equipment, which can be utilized at a separate setting, is the Argon laser. This is used for the treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease.

Once diagnosed with treatable Retinal Diabetic Disease, there is an option for treatment. Since earlier discovered disease is easier to treat, patients with such diseases would be more likely to have a better prognosis if they were engaged with the treatment center. The Argon Laser will also treat small retinal tears or some other conditions which could be discovered during the patient’s diabetic screening photography.


2. The Software


As mentioned earlier, this program involves a software that has been developed at university level, which uses artificial intelligence to make a diagnosis in terms of whether or not the patient should be seen by an ophthalmologist. This software will utilize the images taken by the Fundus Camera to determine whether the patient is referable.

Due to the strong correlation between impaired vision and Diabetes, it is essential that every patient with Diabetes is seen by an eye specialist as well as a GP at least once each year.


3. The Medication


This is also part of the treatment process, as opposed to the detection and monitoring process. If these bleeds are in the wrong place, such as your macula area, this will then affect the patient’s vision. The body can absorb this bleed at the back of the eye, however, medication such as Avastin can be used to assist the absorbing of the blood. The quicker the blood absorbs, the less damage that will be left behind.


The Centre


At no additional cost, at the same screening test point, the patient can also be checked for other common diseases that are leading causes of blindness, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and tumors of the eye.


Our Centres are located in The Point Mall, Cape Town and Life West Coast Hospital, Vredenburg.


Please note: it is important for the patient to indicate if they are booking just for a diabetic screening photograph when they speak to their GP or the booking staff at our clinic.

Patients can also phone their GP and ask to be referred for this test prior to seeing their GP or they can book directly with our booking staff and we will report to their GP and aid the monitoring of the patient’s disease.


Learn more about Diabetic Retinopathy here.


Request a consultation at Dr. Aleksic’s Consultation rooms

THE POINT MALL 

SUITE 701A,

76 REGENT ROAD,

SEA POINT

CAPE TOWN

8005

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LIFE WEST COAST

PRIVATE HOSPITAL 

22 VOORTREKKER ROAD

VREDENBURG

WEST COAST

7380

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COPYRIGHT © DR. Z ALEKSIC