WASHINGTON: World Sight Day, celebrated on October 13th, marks an opportunity to raise awareness about retinal diseases and showcase the community's commitment to supporting the millions of people nationwide living with preventable vision loss.
The theme for this year World Sight Day is 'Love Your Eyes,' reinforcing the significance of treating one's eyes with the care they deserve. The Day is a significant opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of routine eye exams, which are crucial for maintaining ocular health, particularly in people who are prone to illness or who have chronic conditions like diabetes.
Vision is our most important sense as our eyesight drives our perception. However, very few people are aware that the eyes are among the first sense organs to become ill and damaged as we age, lead unhealthy lifestyles, smoke, and have hereditary predispositions.
Children should take care of their eyes to prevent the early start of retinal illnesses, just as it is necessary for adults and older folks to take care of their eyes to prevent the occurrence of life-threatening events like accidents or falls.
Therefore, early prevention of progressive eye illnesses such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy should include regular checkups (DR). Dr. N.S Muralidhar, President of VRSI said, "In my clinical practice, we see about 60 % retinal disease patients, 10% Glaucoma patients and 30% Cataract patients in a month.
The key across all three conditions is timely diagnosis and treatment. Without timely treatment, the condition is allowed to progress, which can result in irreversible vision loss. But this can be prevented. An annual, routine eye screening especially for those with diabetes and the elderly population, can help catch it early. Early detection is imperative to enable prompt care and prevent vision loss."
Follow these 6 tips to maintain a better vision.
1. Regular check-ups
Regular eye check-ups are crucial for maintaining good eyesight, as they can help prevent diseases or detect them early and prevent vision loss.
2. Be well aware of eye-related diseases
Being aware of eye-related diseases can help you and your caregivers manage them better. Whether it is external damage or an underlying condition, awareness is key to preserving our eyesight.
3. Wear your shades
Macular degeneration is a condition where the macula deteriorates over time which causes blurriness and in some cases blindness. The UV rays of the sun enhance this process, so it is very important to protect your eyes by wearing your sunglasses.
4. Take a break from the screen
Excessive use of computers, TVs and phones can severely strain the eyes and even cause dry eyes, affecting vision clarity. It is recommended that you take breaks every 30-40 minutes to reduce screen time or try the 20-20-20 rule- look away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds about 20 feet in front of you.
5. Monitor, control glucose levels and blood pressure
Monitoring glucose levels is crucial for diabetics if they want to avoid or manage DR. High levels of glucose can cause blindness from DR, while high blood pressure can damage organs like the heart and the eyes.
6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle entails a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep as well as eliminating vices such as smoking and alcohol use. This is significant to prevent vision loss as it de-stresses your eyes and prevents retinal damage and progressive eye diseases.
Dr. Manisha Agarwal, Secretary, of VRSI, said "It's important for people to maintain optimal eye health from a young age. Today there are patients suffering from retinal diseases such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) causing severe loss of vision if not detected and treated on time.
Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of preventable blindness and its onset is mainly related to the duration of diabetes progression can be delayed with strict control of diabetes including regular exercises, a balanced diet, regular medications with a timely screening of the retina for DR. It iis important for patients to have an eye screening including retina examination especially when they are detected to be a diabetic and then annually despite not having any visual problems as it may be too late by the time, they start having visual loss. The follow-up interval may shorten with the progression of DR. In the case of AMD which is age-related and multifactorial smoking as one of the avoidable causes highlighting the fact that we all need to bring in changes in our lifestyle thereby ensuring good eye health."
Retinal damage cannot be reversed, so you must be disciplined with your lifestyle, regular with your check-ups and adhere to the recommended treatment to prevent damage to the eyes and poor eyesight.