This year’s call to action: Make Vision Count. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, 4 out of 5 of the world’s blind are avoidably so. Avoidable blindness is can be either prevented or treated by cost effective means. The first step is to plan a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor. Secondly, know your family history of any eye diseases that run in the family to see if you are at risk and then thirdly, contact your eye doctor immediately if any changes happen with your vision.
Below are some examples of the leading eye care issues that are causes blindness worldwide:
- Cataracts- Remains the leading cause of blindness in 18 million people worldwide. Cataracts come with age, which we have no control over. Other factors that can cause cataracts are diabetes, ultraviolet light exposure and smoking. These factors can be managed to help prevent cataracts.
- Diabetic Retinopathy- According to FHF and the IAPB Vision Atlas, Diabetic Retinopathy is becoming a global epidemic and is now one of the leading causes of vision loss globally. People with Diabetic Retinopathy whose sight is at risk can be treated, most commonly with laser to prevent visual impairment and blindness. Screening and early intervention is crucial because patients do not develop symptoms until the very late stages which can be too late for treatment. Lifestyle changes like diet, exercise plus control of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar can be managed and maintained which can contain or reverse the diabetes.
- Glaucoma- It is estimated that 4.5 million people are blind due to glaucoma. Risk factors are intraocular eye pressures, age, ethnicity and family history. If you know glaucoma runs in your family, it is important to get screened to see if you have it as well. The earlier it is detected the sooner it can be treated and managed.
Spread the word about World Sight Day and remember Make Vision Count