Our vision is the sense we rely on the most in our daily lives. It is important to understand the precautions we need to take to protect our eyesight . Some eye problems are minor and momentary while others may lead to a permanent loss of eye vision. All eye diseases do not have symptoms and regular check ups are necessary to detect problems at an early stage.
Eye care is important even if you can see clearly. Sudden change in vision, double vision, eye inflammation or pain, all call for attention by an optician. Diabetic patients are more likely to develop eye disease. Some common eye problems faced by people in Pakistan are:
Cataracts: Cataracts affect vision by clouding the eye lens and are very common in the elderly. Those suffering from cataracts experience blurry vision, double vision, glare and limited night vision. Initially anti-glare glasses and magnifying lenses will help cope with the disease but cataract surgery is the only permanent solution. Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens.
Glaucoma: In glaucoma the eye’s optic nerve is damaged by a gradual rise of the fluid pressure inside the eyes. This can lead to blindness. Those above 60 years of age and with a family history of glaucoma are at high risk for the disease and should undergo regular screenings. There are no initial symptoms but a comprehensive eye test can detect Glaucoma during the early stages. Early detection and treatment with eye drops and surgery can prevent a crippling loss of vision.
Retinal disorders: The retina is a layer of nerve cells called 'rods' situated at the back of the eye. This layer senses light and sends images to the brain for processing. The retina may become detached from its normal position and cause a loss in eyesight. The retina also suffers from many other disorders which affect its ability to receive light and transfer images to the optic nerve. Retinal Disorders affect the ability to read, drive and see minor details. Retinal disorders can be a cause of blindness and must be treated at an early stage if treatment is to be successful.
Conjunctivitis: Also known as pink eye causes the protective membrane that lines the eyelids to swell, burn and itch. It is caused by bacterial or viral infection, allergies or contact lenses and associated products. Normally pink eye does not affect eye vision. However, it is contagious and can spread from one person to another. It can be treated with antibiotic eye drops and ointments.
There are many eye diseases that can be prevented or improved by taking precautions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Vitamins A, E, C and zinc can also help prevent many eye diseases. Those who wear contact lenses or glasses may consider laser surgery to correct their eyesight. Wearing sunglasses is a good way of protecting the eyes from stress. People who work with computers should make sure that they take regular breaks to minimize damage to their eyesight.