By Lee Hui Xin Leanne, Optometrist, International Eye Cataract Retina Centre, Singapore

Diabetes has been a rising concern in Singapore over the past few decades, affecting 10% of the population. It has been found that diabetic patients have a 25-fold risk of  becoming blind as compared to non-diabetics. One of the most common  complications of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy – a disorder of the retinal  blood vessels. It is one of the major causes of reversible blindness among working adults in both developed and non-developed countries. It is usually detected through a dilated retinal examination by eye care professionals.

Dr Loh Boon Kwang, Medical Director at My Eye Specialist & Retina Surgeon, was a guest speaker at the Singapore Primary Eye Care Symposium (SPECS) 2018 on 18-19 July 2018. His lecture, entitled “Diabetic Retinopathy & Anti-Allergy Updates”, gave the latest updates on diabetic retinopathy and ocular allergy treatment.

Dr Loh highlighted the different stages of diabetic retinopathy and elaborated on the signs and symptoms of the disease in patients. By identifying the severity of the condition, appropriate advice and treatment can be administered at the right stage. Such treatment includes laser photocoagulation and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) intravitreal injections. In advanced stages, there may be an accumulation of blood in the vitreous humour – the clear gel that fills the space between the lens and retina. This may require surgical intervention to remove non-clearing vitreous haemorrhage or to prevent further deterioration in vision from tractional retinal detachment.

Dr Loh also elaborated on the possible causes of ocular allergy and their management.

He concluded his talk with real life examples and case scenarios that  optometrists and opticians could encounter in their practices.