Tired eyes, or is it something more?
It's SA National Eye Care Awareness Month from 23 September to 18 October, and to mark the occasion, Novartis South Africa has called on South Africans to pay closer attention to eye care and the symptoms of eye diseases.
"Common eye problems can range from tired, red eyes through to deteriorating vision," says Dr Nicola Lister, chief scientific officer and medical director at Novartis South Africa. Eyes can become red and sore simply from working too long on a computer; or they could become red and itchy from allergies. If redness and itching persist, ask your doctor or pharmacist about an antiallergy eye drop that will help reduce these symptoms. However, a number of more serious conditions are common in South Africa, and these need urgent attention to prevent further deterioration and loss of vision. These include:
Glaucoma is the build-up of pressure inside the eye, which can cause permanent damage if left untreated. In South Africa it is estimated that about 200 000 people are affected. Glaucoma is most often seen in older adults, and because it is often painless, many people delay screening and treatment. Symptoms include reduced areas of vision and blurred vision.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, leading to a decrease in vision in one or both eyes. It is a common cause of blindness in South Africa, and can develop due to ageing, certain medical conditions or trauma to the eye. Cataract is responsible for 51% of world blindness, which represents about 20 million people. Surgery has proved to be effective in treating cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition affecting older people, and involves the loss of the person's central field of vision. It occurs when the macular (or central) retina develops degenerative lesions. Around the world, AMD ranks third as a cause of blindness after cataract and glaucoma. AMD cannot be cured, but it can be treated to keep it from getting worse.
There are therapies that treat both front and back-of-the-eye disorders, including retinal diseases, glaucoma, dry eye and other external eye diseases, and researchers are working on novel therapies to address the root causes of certain disorders.
Food safety was on everyone's lips during the celebration of
World Environmental Health Day last Wednesday, 26 September. A highly successful interactive information session was held at the Thembalethu community hall, attended by informal and formal food and meat traders, small farmers, caterers, crèche cooks and community members from Thembalethu.
This year marks the seventh celebration of the event in South Africa, in recognition of the need to improve environmental health to protect human health. The theme for 2018 is "Global Food Safety and Sustainability", aiming to support the provision of safer food, cultivate sustainable use of precious water and nutrient resources and encourage communities to increasingly value sustainable food production, distribution and consumption.
The objectives of the event were to educate, share and discuss the legal requirements in the food industry as well as major threats to food safety, in particular the incorrect handling of foodstuff; climate change; antimicrobial resistance; antibiotics in meat; food wastage and access to safe water and chemicals. Tony Dyers of the Veterinarian Service delivered a presentation on meat safety, followed by Dr Dyason of the Department of Agriculture, who shared facts about rabies in animals. The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of the George Municipal Health Office enlightened attendees on counterfeit foodstuffs; "best before" dates and the five keys to safer food. Compiled by Michelle Pienaar
There are therapies that treat both front and back-of-the-eye disorders, including retinal diseases, glaucoma, dry eye and other external eye diseases.