Saturday, 9 October 2004

Fast food high in fat content may turn you blind

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 9: Next time you visit a fast food centre be sure that the food you take is not high in fat or calories. For you may be at risk of losing your eye sight.
Fast changing food habits in Hyderabadis is leading to a new health risk and diseases related to eyes. According to city ophthalmologists, rapid transitions of lifestyles and change in food habits have led to a spurt in serious eye problems, particularly diabetes mellitus. They estimate that one in 25 Hyderabadis suffer from severe eye-related diseases and most of them are directly connected with their food habits.
Says Dr Praveen, consultant ophthalmologist at LV Prasad Eye Hospital and Research Institute, "a demographic shift towards aging and increased life expectancy is expected to further add to the burden of diabetes in in the country. And a fairly large number of diabetic persons suffer from diabetic retinopathy".
What is horrifying is that obesity is on the rise in school children in twin cities and though they do not get diabetic retinopathy immediately, they tend to carry on the problem which will manifest at a later stage in their life.
About 20 per cent of Hyderabadis are diabetic and 12 per cent of them suffer from retinopathy.
"The best way to control diabetic retinopathy and eye diseases connected to diabetes is to check the food one takes. In most of the cases obesity is linked to diabetic retinopathy," points out DR Rao, convener of World Sight Day Programme.
Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma but the disease's affect on the retina is the main threat to vision. Most patients develop diabetic changes in the retina after approximately 20 years. The effect of diabetes on the eye is called diabetic retinopathy.
The severity of retinopathy increases with increasing duration of diabetes. A 1.89 increase in the risk for development of diabetic retinopathy was reported for every fice year increase in duration of diabetes.
The study reported that the siblings of persons with retinpathy had a three fold higher risk of diabetic retinopathy than did the siblings of persons without diabetic retinopathy in India.

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity