Diabetic eye disease increases

The eye clinic at the Vila Central Hospital says people must eat plenty of healthy food like yellow fruits and vegetables to address the increased diabetic eye disease.

The eye doctor in Vanuatu, Johnson Kaso, says lifestyle disease like diabetes has increased rapidly in the country resulting in many people having diabetic eye disease.

In a survey done by the World Health Organisation in 2011 to 2012, the result showed that Vanuatu has a rate of 2.1 per cent of people who have diabetic eyes.

Dr Kaso says that rate is too high because many people are at high risk of developing diabetes and it will also affect their eyes.

He says he has analyzed some data for the Northern Provincial Hospital in Santo and Vila Central Hospital and found that 37 per cent of the population will develop a diabetic eye and it will disturb their vision.’

Dr Kaso says that is a huge percentage and is a national crisis for Vanuatu and everyone in the country should take responsibility to address it like each government agency.

“It is not only the hospital’s tasks to talk about this disease,” he said.

He says the agriculture department should step up its efforts in supporting local communities with local food.

Monique Tari, an eye nurse in charge of the Eye Clinic, says early this week, they have seen over 50 people with diabetic eyes.

She says diabetic eyes can cause blindness and many patients who have it are blind.

She says it is surprising to them because the number has jumped in a short period of time.

She says normally, the clinic receives more than 30 patients in a week.

She says the patients are from all age groups, children to adults.

A patient from Aneityum, Shim George, says he has diabetes and has also affected his eyes.

He says people must watch what they are eating. People must eat healthy.

Mrs Tari says people must eat plenty of fruits like orange and yellow vegetables to keep a healthy eye.

Dr Kaso encouraged people who have diabetes to not wait but must go for a check up to know the status of their eye.

He says it is important to check early before it is too late.

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