Wales Council of the Blind

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Ramadan advice from Glaucoma UK and Diabetes UK

The holy month of Ramadan starts on Sunday 10th March 2024, and Glaucoma UK and Diabetes UK have advice on use of eye drops and fasting for people with sight loss at this time.

Glaucoma is a lifetime condition that can cause sight loss and blindness if unchecked, and the most common control mechanism is prescribed eye-drops that prevent pressure in the eye getting so high that it affects the optic nerve. Once sight is lost, it cannot be recovered. Glaucoma UK’s five key points are:

  • Make eye drops part of your Ramadan routine: wake, drops, eat, pray, done!
  • Stopping glaucoma drops for even a short period of time can cause permanent loss of vision.
  • As eye drops are not considered food or drink by most Sunni or Shi’a schools, they don’t break your fast.
  • If you are worried, there are some things you can do for additional reassurance. One is to block your tear duct by pressing on the corner of your eye next to your nose, immediately after putting in your drops. This stops the drops reaching the back of your throat, and keeps them in your eye, where they need to be. If in doubt, you can choose to use your drops before suhoor and after iftar.
  • Glaucoma UK can help you manage your glaucoma while fasting this Ramadan. Their helpline number is 01233 64 81 70, or visit the website.

Diabetes UK advises that, if you are living with diabetes complications such as poor vision, nerve damage, heart or kidney disease, there is a high risk that fasting could make these health conditions worse. It is important to discuss with your healthcare team how living with diabetes and following Ramadan could put your health at risk. They have a range of information on their website, and you can also ring their helpline, 0345 123 2399.