TODAY marks World Sight Day - an initiative of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight.
The occasion is supported by the World Health Organisation, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and non-government organisations with the shared goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020, in order to give all people in the world the right to sight.
Every year, World Sight Day is celebrated in different parts of the world in different ways. In most countries, people associated in primary eye care and optical industries have fun day within their community, or raise funds for organisations to offer free eye care to the poor and needy people around the world.
In Fiji, the Fiji Optometric Association has used this supplement in this newspaper to raise awareness on eye health issues and providing articles and information on various eye diseases and anomalies that can lead to vision loss and blindness.
In most cases, vision loss and blindness is avoidable and preventable. Here are some points on how to care for your vision.
Caring for your vision
As with many health conditions, the key to maintaining good eye health is prevention and early intervention.
It is estimated that 75 per cent of blindness and vision loss is preventable or treatable. Regular eye tests are crucial in the early detection and diagnosis of eye conditions. An eye test could be all it takes to preserve your sight.
What causes vision impairment or blindness?
Some of the conditions that cause blindness and vision impairment are age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, uncorrected or under-corrected refractive error and eye injuries. Except for eye injuries, all of the others mentioned above become more common as you get older.
Who is at risk of vision impairment or blindness?
It is particularly important that you have regular eye tests if you:
nhave a family history of eye disease
nare over the age of 40 years
nare exposed to ultra violet rays
nwork long hours on computers
nhave noticed a change in your vision
Regular eye tests will help detect any problems at an early stage and allow for the best treatment.
What can you do to protect your sight?
Have regular eye tests and visit an optometrist or eye care professional immediately if you experience any changes to your eyesight.
Maintain healthy weight.
Take regular breaks from close and concentrating work such as computers. Wear a hat and sunglasses outdoors to protect eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
Wear protective goggles and glasses at work and at home. Keep blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control if you are at risk or have been diagnosed with diabetes.