Eye Care Awareness

#Loveyoureyes

Are you one of the millions of people around the world walking around with a sight-threatening disease? Unless you have your eyes checked regularly by a professional, you might not even be aware that your sight is in danger. 

Some diseases, like glaucoma, have no early warning signs. Instead, vision deteriorates silently and painlessly until it results in total blindness. But if glaucoma is detected early enough and correctly treated, vision loss and blindness may be prevented. Eyesight is one of the most precious gifts a person can have.

That’s why we encourage you to have your eyes checked this October, during Eye Care Awareness Month. Many people don’t pay much attention to their eyesight or the health of their eyes. This is unfortunate, as 80 percent of blindness is avoidable.

Most eye conditions can be successfully treated if detected early. Visit your local optometrist and take practical measures to protect your eyes like wearing sunglasses and protecting your eyes against injuries.

Your vision is a great gift. Please pay it the attention it deserves #Loveyoureyes.

Cataracts & Glaucoma can hinder your sight

Eye Care Awareness Month aims to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, specifically around the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness. The leading causes of blindness in South Africa are cataracts and glaucoma. These conditions are treatable and total vision loss is preventable when diagnosed early enough.

Cataracts are the clouding of the internal lens of the eye and are most commonly caused by ageing. Cataracts can also form or be accelerated by certain medications or by a lot of exposure to ultra-violet light from the sun or certain conditions such as diabetes.

Your optometrist can detect a cataract and refer you to the eye surgeon to have it removed and replaced with an artificial lens and this restores your sight. If cataracts are left unattended, this can lead to permanent blindness. Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve inside the eye is damaged, most commonly by high eye pressures. It can be a condition that runs in families (genetic), caused by diabetes and even old age can be a risk factor.

Glaucoma can also be detected by your optometrist and referred on for treatment. It can be controlled by eye-drop medication and/or eye surgery. In the early stages of glaucoma, you are not aware that you have the condition and therefore it is important to have regular eye examinations to diagnose and treat it as soon as possible. If you recently had an eye examination, remember to tell those close to you to have their eyes checked too.

Details: Catherine Rosewall-McCarthy – www.theeyelady.co.za

Have your eyes tested after injuries

Many people fear to lose their vision but there are very few who make a concerted effort to take care of their sight. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the causes of avoidable blindness are cataracts (50 per cent), glaucoma (15 per cent), corneal opacities(10 per cent), trachoma (6,8 per cent) and childhood blindness(5,3 per cent). Patients should know that 75 per cent of all causes of blindness are avoidable through prevention and treatment.

Vision testing can detect early signs of cataracts and glaucoma, as well as health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness but can be easily treated through surgical intervention. Early detection and treatment can preserve vision. Glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness but if diagnosed early and treated, vision can be spared. Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a condition that can cause blindness in older patients. With the advent of new treatment modalities, the course of this disease has changed drastically.

Workplace injuries and sporting injuries can be avoided through the use of certified eye protection. People with diabetes are more likely to develop blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Decreased awareness causes a higher risk of vision loss. Childhood blindness can be prevented through the use of topical antibiotics for treating new-borns, measles immunisations and adding Vitamin A to females of childbearing age.

Screening for retinopathy of prematurity in premature infants can prevent blindness. Eye screening for children of school-going age is advisable. They cannot learn if they cannot see. When choosing holiday gifts for young people, refrain from buying projectiles such as crossbows and BB guns. Visit your local optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye specialist) to screen and treat potentially avoidable blinding eye conditions. Vision is a gift. Look after it. Details: Dr D.Soma

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