Medical Perspectives | Others

January 28, 2020



The numbers say that some 75% of the world’s blind could have been avoided.[1] Avoidable blindness, or blindness that could be treated or prevented is a growing concern as World Health Organization estimates that of the 2.2 billion people with vision impairment or blindness, 1 billion of these could have been prevented.[2] Another key reality is that “80% of blindness is preventable”.[3]

 

WHO data shows the 1 billion with avoidable blindness include cases of blindness due to unaddressed refractive error and “vision impairment caused by unaddressed presbyopia”.[4] The causes of vision impairment include uncorrected refractive errors, cataract, glaucoma, and trachoma, among others.[5] Stress, lack of exercise, dietary deficiencies and even genes all play a part in determining vision health.[6]

 

On a global scale, the action plans initiated and shepherded by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness call on nations to integrate efforts to avoid visual impairment into each country’s national health plan, as well as implement a program of action on universal eye health.[7]

 

Practical tips to keep eye health at an optimum condition include:[8]

  • Use of proper lighting, not too dim and not too bright, as these may cause squinting, discomfort and headaches.
  • Eating healthy, with focus on vitamin A, C, E and anti-oxidant rich foods including carrots, mangoes, spinach and almonds.
  • Regular exercise benefits eye health, through strengthened blood vessels and healthy circulation.
  • Give your eyes a rest, take a break from reading or working in front of the computer monitor, every 20 minutes or so.
  • Keep your eyes safe, protect them from harmful substances, firecrackers, dangerous tools and sports activities.
  • Know your family history of vision concerns. The information on known vision problems that runs in the family is key to prevention and cure.[9]
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which increase the risk of eye problems, including cataract.[10]

 

[1] IAPB.org. [n.d.] What is Avoidable Blindness. Retrieved from https://www.iapb.org/knowledge/what-is-avoidable-blindness/

[2] WHO.int. [2019, October]. Blindness and vision impairment. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment

[3] VisionEase.com. [2017, October]. How Do We End Preventable Blindness? Retrieved from https://www.visionease.com/blog/2017/10/12/end-preventable-blindness/

[4] WHO.int. [2019, October]. Blindness and vision impairment. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment

[5] WHO.int. [2019, October]. Blindness and vision impairment. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment

[6] VisionEase.com [2017, October]. How Health and Habits Impact Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.visionease.com/blog/2017/10/18/health-habits-impact-eyes-2/

[7] WHO.int [n.d.] Control and prevention of blindness and deafness. Retrieved from http://www.emro.who.int/control-and-preventions-of-blindness-and-deafness/announcements/action-plan-prevention-avoidable-blindness-visual-impairment-2014-2019.html

[8] SightsaversIndia.in. [2014, May]. Practical tips for maintaining eye health and avoiding blindness. Retrieved from https://www.sightsaversindia.in/blogs/2014/05/practical-tips-maintaining-eye-health-avoiding-avoidable-blindness/

[9] Enhanced Vision. [2017, October]. History and Importance of World Sight Day: Make Vision Count. Retrieved from https://www.enhancedvision.com/world-sight-day.html

[10] Enhanced Vision. [2017, October]. History and Importance of World Sight Day: Make Vision Count. Retrieved from https://www.enhancedvision.com/world-sight-day.html

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