Saturday, December 04, 2021

World sight day: SIPHER advocates periodic eye check to prevent avoidable blindness

PUNJAB NEWSLINE | October 20, 2021 03:45 PM

CHANDIGARH: As a part of the celebration of World Sight Day, an awareness discussion on the topic of “Love Your Eyes, taking care of your eyes and common eye ailments” was organized by Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER).

While moderating the discussion, Dr. Rakesh Gupta, President SIPHER said that nearly everyone on the planet will experience an eye health issue in their lifetime and more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to eye care services. As many as 1.1 billion people live with vision loss. 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable.

"To address the bigger picture at the country and global level, we need to be aware of our own eye health, and so the World Sight Day theme for 2021 is all about #LoveYourEyes", he added.

#LoveYourEyes is all about being aware of your own eye health and if you are able to, get a sight test or recommend others do the same, said he, while adding that eyes can also tell us so much about our general health. Talking about the Corneal Blindness Backlog Free (CBBF) initiative he explained that in an unusual fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, eye donations have seen a drastic fall leading to a substantial decrease in Eye Donations and the number of Keratoplasty surgeries. Recently a virtual National consultation on the issue to promote EYE BANKING was held under Padma Shri Dr. Vikas Mahatme Member Rajya Sabha and Dr. Jagat Ram D-PGI and it was suggested that there may be a constitution of Taskforce to promote EYE BANKING and plan to make Chandigarh/Tricity and other states as CORNEAL BLINDNESS BACKLOG FREE (CBBF) with involvement of all Eye banks, Private Eye Surgeons and Civil Society Organisations.

Initiating the panel discussion Prof. Dr. Sonu Goel, Dept. of Community Medicine PGIMeR talked about the common eye diseases causing visual impairment and blindness like Cataracts, refractive errors, Childhood blindness, Corneal blindness (trachoma, onchocerciasis), Glaucoma and Diabetic retinopathy and about the dietary control for Diabetes.

Dr. Ashok Sharma, an eminent Corneal Surgeon of the region and “Cornea Hero” awardee explained the available options for Conical Cornea (Keratoconus) and advancements in corneal grafting for Corneal Blind Patients. He also talked about the Phaco Surgery and Intraocular lenses options available for Cataract patients. He also dwelled upon the options available for Laser Vision Correction for young patients who do not want to use spectacles or contact lenses. He also emphasized the importance of regular retina (fundus) checkups for Diabetic patients to avoid visual impairment and blindness caused by Diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Rajan Sharma explained about dry eyes and computer vision syndrome, which is a common ailment because of excessive use of smartphones and computers. He emphasized the importance of preventive check-ups for Glaucoma or Kalamotia which is called the silent thief of eyesight.

He added that visual impairment in the 5 to 15 age group is as high as 6.4% so it is important to check the eyesight of all school children annually.

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