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World Sight Day 2019: 5 Simple Tips To Prevent Vision Problems

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The World Sight Day is observed on second Thursday of October (10th October 2019) every year. The aim is to raise awareness on blindness and vision impairment. The theme for 2019 is “Vision First”. 

If you can’t read this article without your glasses, then it’s imperative to know that there are around a billion people, who like you, can’t either. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there are 39 million blind people and around 246 million visually impaired people in the world[1]. Moreover, the burden of blindness in India contributes to nearly one fifth of the global blindness burden. It is reported that the cases of cataract and refractive errors constitute more than 80% of the blindness[1]. 

According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), there are 1.2 billion people who need glasses to see better. In simple terms, more than a billion of people suffer from vision impairment[2]. But what is more striking is the fact that around 75% of these cases can be avoided. So this world sight day, we try to shed light on some of the simple measures you can follow to keep the eyes healthy and prevent vision impairment.

How To Take Care Of Your Eyes?

Blindness is one of the important public health problems in India. However with simple tips you lower your risk of vision problems and prevent blindness. Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Go for regular eye examination

Most of us are aware of the need to go for regular health check-ups to lead a healthy life. However, eye examination takes a backseat. Going for an exam exam is the first step to prevent vision impairment and blindness and keep your eyes healthy.

So the next time you book an appointment for an annual health check-up, make sure you consult an ophthalmologist to get your eyes tested. This is particularly necessary in people who suffer from diabetes as they are at high risk of diabetic retinopathy, eye disease caused due to high blood glucose level. Also, elderly and those with vision impairment should go for regular eye exam as advised by their doctor.

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2. Look away from computer screen

Believe it or not good eye care begins at the workplace! The reason being that most of us spend hours at a stretch glued to the computer screen. And at the end of the day our eyes have to bear the brunt. But not anymore if you follow the 20-20-20 rule, which is nothing but taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes and looking 20 feet away from your computer. This is because staring at a computer for a long time can increase the pressure on the eyes. This might cause the eye muscles to work continuously and lower the flexibility of the eye lens. You can even close your eyes for 20 seconds after every 30 minutes or an hour of starting at computer screen to ease the pressure on the eyes.

3. Follow at least 2 hours of device rule

Be it kids or adults, almost all of us are continuously on phone either scrolling, chatting or watching a video. But what we tend to forget is the impact of this incessant device time on our eyes. Be it before bedtime or first thing after waking up, we can’t think of leaving our phone aside for a second. This in the long run can severely affect your eyes and vision. To break this habit, you can follow the no device rule at least two hours before bedtime or restrict your device time to not more than 2 hours in a day (excluding your time spent at the office). In fact, you can use this time to take a scroll around a park in the evening time or playing with your kids or pet after reaching home which can help ease the stress. 

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4. Try exercises for the eyes

Being physically active is good for the overall health including the eyes. It improves blood circulation and promotes immunity. But at the same time, trying eye-exercises are also important, especially if you spend more than half of your day looking at a screen. You do not have to learn any new techniques do not have to spend extra efforts to do these exercises. The motive of these exercises is to ease the pressure on the eyes and help keep your eyes healthy. Simple exercises that can help include palming (placing your palms on the eyes), massaging your eyelids, rotating your eyeballs in the clockwise and anticlockwise direction or focusing on an object placed at a distance from your vision.

5. Consult the right doctor

One of the common mistakes that most people commit is to consult the right eye specialist when it comes to testing their eyes. There are people who visit an optician to get eye examination and get their glasses at the optical store than at a doctor’s clinic. However, this is not right because opticians are not qualified doctors but mere professionals who are skilled to help you figure out what kind of glasses you need and fit or repair eyeglasses, contact lenses, and frames. They are not the right experts to check, diagnose or treat your eye and vision care problems.

So the next time you want to get your vision checked or have any vision problems, consult an ophthalmologist and not an optician.You can even get your glasses or lenses to your doctor’s clinic to get them checked from the doctor to be on the safer side.

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Remember that most of the cases of vision impairment and blindness can be effectively avoided if you follow proper care and consult the right expert. So do take care of your eyes because it is through your eyes that you see the world. 

Share this article with everyone you know to spread awareness about the simple tips to take care of your eyes and do your bit on this world sight day.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

Recommended Reads:

Types Of Eye Specialists: Ophthalmologist, Optician and Optometrist

Eye Strain? Try These Effective Tips To Protect Your Eyes

References:

1. Misra V, Vashist P, Malhotra S, Gupta SK. Models for primary eye care services in India. Indian J Community Med. 2015 Apr-Jun;40(2):79-84.

2. WSD19 Social Messages. World Sight Day 2019. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

3. World Sight Day. The National Health Portal (NHP).

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