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Prevention of Blindness : Symptoms, Prevention & Cure


News Desk, News Nation 360 : Every year, Prevention of Blindness Week is observed from April 1- April 7. The week aims to raise awareness towards blind people and highlights the need for caring for one's eyes. Leading doctors from Disha Eye Hospitals and Techno India Dama Hospital share their insights on the symptoms, prevention cure and dietary requirements for the prevention of blindness. Dr Soham Basak, Consultant, Cornea Department, Disha Eye Hospitals have discussed about this. The National Program for the Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB-VI) is one of the most extensive government eye care programs worldwide. Which aims to provide comprehensive eye care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels so that the prevalence of blindness may be reduced. Preventable blindness is those which can be prevented by treating the causative factor or taking adequate safety measures. For example – corneal blindness due to vitamin A deficiency, corneal ulcers; industrial and workplace blindness; diabetic retinopathy; retinopathy of prematurity. India has an almost 2 crores blind population. According to the latest NPCB survey, the leading causes of blindness in India are – Cataracts, Corneal opacity and complications of

Dr. Soham Basak.jpg

cataract surgery, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, other retinal diseases and trauma/injury-related causes. Incurable blindness is usually associated with birth defects where the structure of the eye is incomplete from birth; or genetic conditions for which unfortunately much treatment does not exist at present. Curable blindness needs medical and/or surgical treatment. Mostly it is synonymous with cataract blindness and refractive error blindness. Other diseases are glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, etc. Early signs of blindness – a torchlight examination of the eyes of a newborn often reveal congenital birth defects. Usually, the parents notice these like white spots in the eye, abnormal shape of the eye, excess watering, a child avoiding light, a child not looking at faces or light sources, and one or both eyes pointing at different sides. For the prevention of blindness, active roles must be played by different groups of people – ophthalmologists, paramedical ophthalmic assistants and optometrists, ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, school teachers, government policy-makers and NGOs. Prevention of blindness depends on the cause of blindness. Corneal ulcers in agriculture workers – use of safety goggles during farming work, visiting doctor if any vegetative matter enters the eye, not self-treating with random drops from the pharmacy. Workplace injury – industrial safety goggles for workers involved in grinding, metal work, welding etc. Blindness due to refractive error (power of the eyes) – wearing spectacles, contact lenses, and refractive surgical options. Cataract – a cataract surgery with implantation of an artificial lens. Glaucoma – regular screening especially if family members have glaucoma and start eye drops on time. Diabetic retinopathy – good control of blood sugar, routine eye checkup every year to detect retinal involvement at the earliest. Retinopathy of prematurity – retina check-up of the newborn and subsequent treatment as advised. Festival/ toys/ sports related – using fireworks, bow-arrow, danda-Gulli, holi colours, with caution. Protective headgear or eyewear in certain sports. Vitamin A deficiency – nutritious diet in children, oral vitamin A supplements as per the immunization program. International bodies like WHO and the Vision 2020 program, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and International NGOs (Sight Savers, ORBIS, Lions, Rotary etc) play an important role in teaching and training, advocacy, and facilitation of affordable treatment. Not all are fortunate to have a preventable or treatable form of blindness. There are much incurable blindness causes – commonly birth defects, genetic disorders, the end stage diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy; severe trauma etc.

Pic : Courtesy

Report : Anustup Kundu

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