Sudden attacks of acute glaucoma could threaten diabetics’ vision, according to physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.

Glaucoma is a top cause of blindness in the UAE. Patients with diabetic eye disease are at the risk of sudden, severe attacks of neovascular glaucoma that require immediate treatment.

Neovascular glaucoma is a severe form of acute glaucoma attack, which arises when poor circulation related to diabetes causes abnormal blood vessels to grow inside the eye. It can be prevented through early detection and appropriate treatment of diabetic eye disease.

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‘Attacks of neovascular glaucoma can be dramatic. The extreme pain in the eye can induce nausea and vomiting, meaning people don’t always immediately associate their symptoms with an eye problem,’ says Dr Scott Smith, chair of the Eye Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

‘Glaucoma is similar to high blood pressure in terms of the long-term risks.’

‘Screening patients for diabetic eye disease is a quick, painless and non-invasive procedure involving retinal photography, and a general eye exam when required,’ says Dr Imran Ansari, consultant ophthalmologist at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.