In lieu of World Sight Day, Doctors in the National Capital revealed that 80 percent of the blindness in the country is preventable and treatable. With studies suggesting India to home 31.6 million blind people by the year 2020, these experts stress upon raising awareness around prevention and treatment of blindness.
“The common reasons of blindness in India include cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, uncorrected refractive error, diabetic retinopathy and corneal blindness. Unfortunately, people often do not know that all these conditions can be treated and the blindness can be reversed. Occasions like World Sight Day bring an excellent opportunity to initiate public awareness and bring this pressing issue to the fore,” said Dr Ikeda Lal, Cornea and Refractory Surgery Specialist, Delhi Eye Centre and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Reportedly, cataract, caused due to clouding of the eye lenses in old age, leading to blurry vision and ultimately blindness is responsible for 50-80 percent of the blindness in the country.
Similarly, glaucoma, caused due to damage to the optic nerve usually because of high intra-ocular pressure, could be treated with medication, laser treatment, or surgery, provided it is reported timely. However, with 12 million people in the country affected by glaucoma and 1.2 million blind due to it, seemingly awareness around its prevention and treatment is low. In fact, data suggest that more than 90 per cent of cases of glaucoma remain undiagnosed in the community
“Nearly 80% of blindness in the world is avoidable, i.e. it can either be preventable or treatable. Let’s increase the public awareness in this direction so that a majority of people in the society who may become blind due to ignorance maintain their sight for life. Ocular causes of preventable blindness can be trachoma, vitamin A deficiency while causes of treatable blindness can be cataract , uncorrected refractive error, diabetic retinopathy,” said Dr Rajesh Sinha, Professor, Department of Opthalmology, AIIMS.