The World Sight Day (WSD) is celebrated globally every year on the second Thursday of October in order to focus attention on the global issue of eye health.
The Lions Club International Foundation started this day for the first time in the year 2000 and it was then adapted and coordinated yearly by the IAPB and WHO.
The theme for this year is “Love Your Eyes” which essentially encourages individuals to be attentive and take charge of their own eye health.
How Can I Love My Eyes?
1. Recognizing common vision-threatening conditions such as:
– GLAUCOMA! GLAUCOMA!! GLAUCOMA!!
– We cannot overemphasize the need to know more about this “silent thief of sight”. It is second leading cause of blindness worldwide affecting more than 7 million people as of 2020. UNFORTUNATELY, it usually has NO SYMPTOMS. So essentially one may wake up one day and realize they are BLIND. However some of the late-onset symptoms may include seeing colored rainbows around light(halos) or bumping into objects (due to loss of peripheral vision) Scary? You bet. Now, the only way to know if YOU have or do not have glaucoma is to visit an eyecare professional for a thorough eye examination.
-Other common eye conditions include:
– Refractive errors; which may manifest as either difficulty seeing distance or near objects, eye strain etc
– Presbyopia; difficulty with threading a needle or reading small fonts/prints especially in individuals above 40years of age
– Cataracts; presents with cloudy or dewy vision, poor night vision(older individuals/drivers who can no longer drive at night are probably on this boat) and yes children can also have cataracts!
– Retinitis Pigmentosa; poor night vision
– Cancers: sadly eye cancers are not uncommon (sudden protrusion of the eyes, whitish speck in the eyes)..especially in children.
2. Recognizing NEWER EYE ISSUES:
Well, you may recognize that a lot of advances have occurred over the past few decades especially in the medical profession. Many of which are brilliant and life changing but also have several implications such as:
– Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a significant cause of potentially preventable blindness in preterm infants worldwide. Babies born prematurely are surviving more these days, however, many may lose their vision before the age of 1.
– Contact Lens Keratitis:
Colored contact lenses are trendy and we’re definitely here for it. But however if you absolutely have to use them, you must know how to properly care for them. And DO NOT under any circumstance, share your contact lenses with anyone!!!
3. Things that may make your eye twitch; in a good way, raise suspicion..
– A family history of poor vision or blindness should raise suspicions of a possibility of familial or hereditary conditions such as (and especially) GLAUCOMA!!
4. On the Use of Unprescribed Eye drops and Herbal/ Traditional Eye Medications (TEMs)
– do not instill URINE, BREAST MILK, ENGINE OIL, LEAVE EXTRACTS into your eyes. And please flee from whoever advise you to do so. They do not LOVE YOU OR YOUR EYES!!
On the occasion of the WSD 2022, we wish to encourage individuals to stand together and make people aware of blindness and issues of vision.
Who can Help?
EVERYONE!!! Parents, teachers, family and friends, acquaintances.
– Teachers can tell pupils or students performing poorly in school probably due to poor vision (Refractive errors)
– Relatives can recognize a baby with a whitish speck in the eye, squints (half-past four eye), jerky eye movements or an eye which shines like that of a cat’s at night (cat eye reflex).
– A coworker who keeps bumping into objects
– A driver who is prone to accidents- minor or major should be encouraged by colleagues to check their eyes.
WHERE TO SEEK HELP?
Do see an eye care professional which may include an ophthalmic nurse, an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. We all play important roles and can direct you to the relevant specialist within the eye health profession.
Note! Most diseases causing vision impairment or blindness are more common in adults especially from age 40. So ensure you start to check your eyes from that age even when you have no eye complaints.
The good thing also is that most eye diseases (80%) are treatable or preventable, especially when detected on time!
In UBTH we have an eye check station at the centre for disease control (CDC) where you can pay a modest fee to do a general body check including an eye check for glaucoma or other vision impairing conditions.
In conclusion, we at the Ophthalmology Department UBTH, encourage you to raise the flag for better sight and join the movement to eliminate avoidable blindness.
Stay healthy, Be Safe and lastly Love Your Eyes!!!
Public Health Unit, Ophthalmology Department, UBTH