Greetings to all and sundry,
It is a beautiful day today and for a month of ocular healthcare awareness as well as breast cancer awareness I thought it best to be the month, I come back fully to be with you all and for us to once again learn about our ocular health and what we can do best to be in good shape always.
Tomorrow marks the stipulated day for the international world sight day celebration where we focus on the eye as well as another parameter that may contribute to our eyes. This year the theme from the international agency for the prevention of blindness, iapb.org is Love Your Eyes.
I am hoping that through what I am to share with you today you would pledge at iapb.org to have your eyes checked tomorrow as many eye care facilities would be conducting free eye screening across the globe. And so wherever you find yourself, there is that opportunity to get your eyes checked.
Love Your Eyes
What do we mean when we say love your eyes? Loving your eyes means taking care of them, being good to them, and doing what ought to be done to ensure that it continues to function at the optimal level they ought to.
Let's look at it from this perspective, you have a car, and for your car to continue to run efficiently and give you the maximum satisfaction in daily usage you ought to buy fuel regularly lest it may not move (if you are using tesla you still ought to charge), you ought to take it to the mechanic every now and then for maintenance, you ought to wash it and keep it clean lest dirt gets stuck at places and cause issues and other stuff that may be required.
Now our body or our eyes much like our car, ought to be maintained, they ought to be checked regularly and by doing so we would be showing our love to our eyes. I meet a lot of patients on a daily who come in for their very first eye checkup at the age of 40, 50, 60 years, and above and they come in only because they noticed something going wrong with their vision and so they would like to save it.
Some of these individuals are lucky sometimes their problems are manageable sometimes they are not so lucky they find themselves with a diagnosis that may have caused irreversible damage to their vision such that not much can be done but to help save whatever may be left of their vision.
The danger with this kind of habit is that many ocular conditions may not necessarily give severe signs or symptoms that would move you to run to the eye clinic for a check-up. Conditions like Glaucoma wouldn't even show you anything until your vision has deteriorated so much and so we ought to do better for ourselves and for our eyes if we do love them.
Interesting Facts and Myths about the Eye
I don't know about where you come from, but from where I come from patients tend to have lots of misconceptions about the eye that I spend time daily to debunk and so I thought it wise to add that to today's discussion.
Currently, Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in Africa, perhaps it is because statistics have shown that we are more prone to acquiring open-angle glaucoma than people of Eastern and Western Descent, which means we ought to take our medical check-even more seriously.
Refractive errors tend to be a leading cause of preventable blindness and yet still there are many roaming about who cannot see as a result of myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, either because they cannot afford to buy very affordable glasses from their Optometrist to wear to help them see or they have misconceptions about glass wear that is keeping them from seeking the needed help.
At this juncture let me hasten to add that wearing glasses would not cause any damage or harm to your eyes or your sight but rather improve them, which is why your doctor would give them to you. Your Doctor has sworn an oath and is obligated to always do right by you and ensure that you are given the best care possible for your vision so you do not have anything to fear when it comes to your glass wear.
Again, let me add that glasses are not like taking a painkiller, it wouldn't cure your error however so long as you are wearing it that error is corrected, this is because the eyeball stops growing by the first decade of your life, and by the time you reach the second decade, most plasticity would be coming to an end too.
And so when it comes to the eye, early detection really does save sight, many kids have been saved from the development of amblyopia through early childhood checkups that led to the diagnosis of refractive errors and the like. Your child's vision plays a paramount role when it comes to schooling and studies, your child may not be dumb however their inability to see well in class may project the wrong perception for both teachers and guardians, do get him or her an eye examination and see the improvement that comes.
A cataract is another condition I should mention briefly before I conclude this writing as it is the leading cause of blindness in Africa and the world at large. In some parts of Africa some people use herbal concussions to try to "Melt Away", the cataract which ends up damaging their cornea resulting in total blindness. I see and hear about these conditions and I feel saddened because cataracts need only a very simple procedure that lasts for a few minutes, the opacified lenses are replaced with new IOLs and you get to see well again and yet still the fear, the myths, and the misconceptions are causing so many folks their sight.
And so if you have been diagnosed with cataracts, I would humbly ask that you heed the recommendations that are coming from your Optometrist, and go for the surgical intervention from your Ophthalmologist, it is fast and painless and more or less a walk-in procedure that you can go home right afterward and the bonus part is you get to see even better. Don't fall for any quacks and unorthodox care lest you lose your precious vision.
I am optimistic that you my dear reader would make haste and make great use of this opportunity that is coming to your doorstep as a result of world sight day and get your eyes tested. Don't wait till it is too late, remember, your sight is your window to the beauty of this world.
Love your eyes, Pledge to get examined at iapb.org. stay safe and have a wonderful week. I am leaving you with an interview I held with EZRA TV in Ghana with my colleague Optometrist on loving your eyes and debunking ocular myths. I wish you the very best once again and my regards to my friends @gentleshaid from Nigeria, @agmoore, and Prof @lemouth. It is been quite a while I hope you are doing amazing?
Asbell PA, Dualan I, Mindel J, Brocks D, Ahmad M, Epstein S. Age-related cataract. Lancet. 2005 Feb 12-18;365(9459):599-609. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)17911-2. PMID: 15708105.
Dandona R, Dandona L. Refractive error blindness. Bull World Health Organ. 2001;79(3):237-43. Epub 2003 Jul 7. PMID: 11285669; PMCID: PMC2566380.