Visually impaired Pinoys to hit over 2 M this year – study
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - More than two million Filipinos are projected to develop visual impairment this year due to various reasons, ranging from chronic illnesses to aging, an expert from the Philippine Academy of Opthalmology (PAO) said yesterday.

In a press briefing, PAO member Carlos Emmanuel Chua noted that based on research of the Sentro Oftalmologico Jose Rizal of the Philippine General Hospital in 2012 and 2013, around 2.4 million individuals will be visually impaired this year.

Of this figure, 312,000 individuals will go blind due to cataract, refractive error, glaucoma and diabetes.

Chua also noted that the top causes of visual impairment include error of refraction, cataract, glaucoma, retinopathy and maculopathies, particularly diabetes and hypertension.

“Poorly controlled diabetes mellitus is estimated to blind 40,419 individuals in 2014 and cause visual impairment in around 151,570 individuals,” said Chua, an adult and pediatric ophthalmologist at the St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC).

According to Pearl Tamesis-Villalon, former PAO president and SLMC Quezon City-Retina Section head, it is important to manage diabetes to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy.

“It is one of the many complications of diabetes. It primarily affects retinal microvasculature, destroying its walls (causing) fluid leakage and accumulation in retinal tissue causing edema,” Villalon explained.

She also noted that the Philippines has the ninth largest diabetic population in the world, affecting some 7.8 million Filipinos by 2030.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of permanent visual impairment or severe vision loss in people above 50 in western countries, she added.

Age is the most important risk factor, followed by modifiable risk factors like lack of antioxidant, smoking, excessive ultra violet exposure and systemic conditions such as high cholesterol and obesity.

Prevalence is higher among Europeans at 12.3 percent against Asians at 7.4 percent.

“But numbers are expected to rise sharply in Asia as the region comprises 60 percent of the world population,” Villalon added.

To enhance diagnosis and treatment of blindness-causing eye diseases, the Eye Institute of SLMC inked yesterday a memorandum of agreement with Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

Under the agreement, Novartis will provide free Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to 360 qualified patients of SLMC Eye Institute in Quezon City and Global City from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 this year.

To qualify, a patient should be currently on the Novartis medication Ranibizumab, which is indicated for the treatment of neovascular or wet AMD, a visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema and macular edema secondary to retinal vein occlusion.

According to SLMC-Global City Eye Institute head Noel Chua, “OCT is a non-invasive imaging test that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.”

 

 â€œIt enables the ophthalmologist to map and measure the thickness of each of the retina’s distinctive layers. These measurements help with the early detection, diagnosis and treatment guidance for retinal conditions and diseases,” Chua added.

 

CARLOS EMMANUEL CHUA CHUA EYE INSTITUTE GLOBAL CITY EYE INSTITUTE MEDICAL CENTER NOEL CHUA NOVARTIS NOVARTIS HEALTHCARE PHILIPPINES OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY PEARL TAMESIS-VILLALON
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with