In recognition of World Sight Day, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has urged residents to practise proper eye care, learn about different eye diseases, and undergo regular eye check-up in order to avoid visual impairment.
Improper eye care and negligence can lead to partial vision loss, which may in turn cause gradual blindness. According to the World Health Organisation, about 80% of blindness is avoidable through prevention and treatment.
Eye care for Children
Dr Dalal al-Mass, consultant ophthalmologist at HMC, said that the first step in prevention is to be aware of the kinds of eye diseases that may lead to vision deterioration and loss of eyesight. She explained that it was highly advisable that children undergo regular screening to detect symptoms early and also to commence treatment promptly.
“Children, particularly pre-schoolers, can experience conditions such as amblyopia or lazy eye (a condition that develops in infancy or early childhood resulting in decreased vision in one eye); strabismus (a condition in which both eyes cannot align in the same direction); and significant refractive error (a condition which occurs when the shape of the eye prevents it from focusing well),” Dr al-Mass said.
Eye care for Adults
“For adults aged 40 and above, vision loss may be induced by conditions such as cataract (clouding of the lens in the eye causing blurred vision); glaucoma (a condition in which the eye’s optic nerve is damaged and a pressure builds inside the eye); diabetic retinopathy (a condition that occurs due to diabetes in which blood vessels in the eye are damaged); and age-related macular degeneration (a condition in which damage occurs to macula – a small spot near the centre of the retina, leading to poor or decreasing vision).”
Dr al-Mass stressed the need for individuals to make conscious efforts to learn about their family health history and be wary of any eye disease that have previously affected members of the family.
“Some eye diseases are hereditary, so it is very important to consult a healthcare professional to ensure the disease is discovered in its initial stages,” she stressed.
Taking some simple steps and adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in safeguarding one’s eyes from these kinds of eye disorders.
- Adults and older aged individuals should maintain their eye safety by using effective eye protection such as goggles while working with harmful chemicals, dangerous tools, or playing sports.
- Try to wear sunglasses with UV protection while in the sun.
- In case of any injury to the eye, immediate medical attention should be sought, especially if there is pain in the eye or blurred vision.
- Teenagers and young adults should be mindful of the proper use of contact lenses as this is one of the leading causes of corneal infection.
- Only commercially prepared solutions for contact lenses should be used and use of tap or distilled water, or saliva, is highly discouraged
- People should ensure that they do not sleep with their contact lens on and they should never use someone else’s lens.
- Use of proper lighting to avoid squinting, discomfort, and headaches resulting from overworked eye muscles. While working, it is best to have a light source fall from above or behind the shoulders.
- Eat healthy and ensure sufficient intake of Vitamin A, C, and E contained in antioxidant-rich foods such as carrots, mangoes, spinach, and almonds.
- Make sure to allow time for the eyes to rest. When working on eye-intensive work, try to take a break at least once in 20 minutes.
- Exercise regularly as physical exercise also strengthens blood vessels in the eyes and encourages healthy circulation, and can prevent diseases like diabetes.
- Say no to smoking, as research has linked smoking to a heightened risk of contracting eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
- Always wash hands thoroughly before touching contact lenses.