Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Let’s keep our eyes healthy

Oc­to­ber 8 - World Sight Day

- BY THISARI ANDRIA WALAWEGE PROF. MADHUWANTH­I DISSANAYAK­E Con­sul­tant Eye Sur­geon & Pro­fes­sor, Fac­ulty of Medicine Univer­sity of Colombo Health · Color Blindness · Medications · Medicine · Health Conditions · Pharmacology · World Health Organization · University of Colombo · Glaucoma · Cataracts · Eye Health · Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo

“Cher­ished like the ap­ple of his eye” – that fig­ure of speech un­der­scores the huge im­por­tance we place on our sense of sight. Eyes are pre­cious to us. With that in mind, “The World Sight Day 2020” was cel­e­brated yes­ter­day (08) glob­ally un­der this year’s theme,“hope In Sight”.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) the World Sight Day, held on the sec­ond Thurs­day of Oc­to­ber ev­ery year, aims to fo­cus global at­ten­tion on vi­sion im­pair­ment and blind­ness. The In­ter­na­tional Agency for the Preven­tion of Blind­ness (IAPB) de­clared that more than a bil­lion peo­ple can­not see well, be­cause they don’t have ac­cess to glasses.“let’s find the so­lu­tions to en­sure that ev­ery­one, ev­ery­where has ac­cess to sight. Let’s pledge to spread the mes­sage of #Hopein­sight,” the IAPB said. Un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of aware­ness, Daily Mir­ror spoke to Pro­fes­sor Madhuwanth­i Dissanayak­e, Con­sul­tant Eye Sur­geon & Pro­fes­sor, Fac­ulty of Medicine, Univer­sity of Colombo to gain an in­sight on vi­sion im­pair­ment and eye health.

Cataract

“Cataract is the com­mon­est cause of blind­ness world­wide but it is re­versible and the vi­sion can be fully re­stored af­ter treat­ment,” Prof. Dissanayak­e ex­plained. Cataract is the cloud­ing of the nor­mally clear lens of the hu­man eye. When the lens is opaque, it pre­vents the lens from send­ing clear images to the retina. This causes a grad­ual loss of vi­sion in pa­tients.

Risk Fac­tors

Fac­tors that in­crease your risk of cataracts in­clude:

■ In­creas­ing age

■ Di­a­betes

■ Ex­ces­sive ex­po­sure to sun­light (UV light)

■ Pre­vi­ous eye in­jury or in­flam­ma­tion

■ Pre­vi­ous eye surgery

■ Pro­longed use of cor­ti­cos­teroid med­i­ca­tions

■ Smok­ing

■ Ge­netic fac­tors

Symp­toms and Signs

■ Clouded, blurred vi­sion

■ Sen­si­tiv­ity to light and glare (for an ex­am­ple, light from in­com­ing ve­hi­cles)

■ Fre­quent changes in eye­glass or con­tact lens pre­scrip­tion

■ Fad­ing or yel­low­ing of colours

For peo­ple who have cataracts, see­ing through cloudy lenses is a bit like look­ing through a frosty or fogged-up win­dow.“pain in the eye, Ir­ri­ta­tion in the eye, red­ness in the eye, tear­ing in the eye are not symp­toms of cataract. But if you ne­glect cataract it will advance into ma­ture cataract which can cause lot of com­pli­ca­tions,” Prof. Dissanayak­e ex­plained. Ma­ture cataract may lead to pain and red­ness in the eyes and the pres­sure in the eye may be in­creased. Ac­cord­ing to her, at that stage it will be dif­fi­cult to per­form a nor­mal cataract surgery and insert an in­tra-ocu­lar lens.“there­fore one should not wait un­til you come to the last stages as early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment is the key to full restora­tion of your eye sight,” she com­mented.

Treat­ment

Proven treat­ment for cataract is sur­gi­cal treat­ment.“the only proven per­ma­nent treat­ment is surgery. Eye drops do not pro­vide a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion,” Prof. Dissanayak­e em­pha­sis ed .“cataract surgery is the com­mon­est sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure car­ried out in the world and it is con­sid­ered to be the most suc­cess­ful surgery be­cause the vi­son can be re­stored in most of the pa­tients. It in­volves the re­moval of the nat­u­ral lens of the eye that has de­vel­oped an opaci­fi­ca­tion and its re­place­ment with an in­traoc­u­lar lens” she ex­plained.

Dur­ing ini­tial stages, cataract can be man­aged by us­ing spec­ta­cles. How­ever, surgery is the only per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.the in­di­ca­tion for surgery is the need of the pa­tient.“it can be per­formed dur­ing early stages of cataract as well,” the pro­fes­sor ex­plained.

Af­ter surgery three main eye drops (An­tibi­otic eye drops, Steroidal eye drops and a Non- steroidal anti-in­flam­ma­tory eye drop) must be ad­min­is­tered reg­u­larly as pre­scribed by one’s sur­geon for a pe­riod of one month. “Don’t let the eye get ex­posed to dust, trauma, and any in­jury dur­ing this time pe­riod and Di­a­betes has to be kept un­der con­trol,” Prof. Dissanayak­e said.

Glau­coma

The pro­fes­sor stated that Glau­coma was an op­tic nerve dis­ease associated with eye pres­sure. It is the sec­ond com­mon­est cause of blind­ness and is not re­versible. There­fore it needs to be di­ag­nosed early. It is com­monly seen in peo­ple with a fam­ily his­tory of glau­coma .“usu­ally it is done at the age of 40 when you check for near vi­sion prob­lems,” she said.

Dur­ing di­ag­no­sis, eye pres­sure is checked and a back of the eye ex­am­i­na­tion is car­ried out where the op­tic nerve is ex­am­ined for

nerve dam­age. Pa­tients may not ex­pe­ri­ence any symp­toms un­til they go blind with ad­vance­ment of the dis­ease and there­fore it is called “the silent thief of sight”.

Re­frac­tive er­rors

Prof. dissanayak­e ex­plained that re­frac­tive er­rors were the com­mon­est cause of vis­ual im­pair­ments. they in­clude short sight­ed­ness, long sight­ed­ness and pres­by­opia .“these can be read­ily cor­rected us­ing spec­ta­cles,” she said.

Tips for keep­ing your eyes healthy

■have reg­u­lar eye ex­am­i­na­tions-“if you have any symp­toms with re­gards to the eye, like tear­ing, flashes, grad­ual loss of vi­sion, get your eyes checked. All di­a­betes pa­tients must get their eyes checked at the time of di­ag­no­sis of Di­a­betes and an­nu­ally after­wards.

■if you have a re­la­tion with glau­coma, go and get our eyes checked.

■if cataract surgery is done for one eye, go and get the other eye checked about 6 months af­ter surgery.

■ Get chil­dren’s eyes checked be­tween 5-6 years of age when they learn how to read num­bers. It will be pos­si­ble to cor­rect any er­rors us­ing spec­ta­cles if they do so. If not it will re­main un­treated for a long time and it’s hard to treat the con­di­tion af­ter the age of 7-8 years as the eye be­comes am­bly­opic or a lazy eye.,” Prof. Dissanayak­e em­pha­sised.

■ Choose a healthy diet that in­cludes plenty of fruits and veg­eta­bles.

■ Avoid over­ex­po­sure to sun­light

■ Avoid smok­ing

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 ??  ?? Risk Fac­tors that in­crease your Fac­tors risk of cataracts in­clude: In­creas­ing age
Di­a­betes
Ex­ces­sive ex­po­sure to sun­light
(UV light)
Pre­vi­ous eye in­jury or in­flam­ma­tion Pre­vi­ous eye surgery Pro­longed use of cor­ti­cos­teroid med­i­ca­tions
Smok­ing Ge­netic fac­tors
Risk Fac­tors that in­crease your Fac­tors risk of cataracts in­clude: In­creas­ing age Di­a­betes Ex­ces­sive ex­po­sure to sun­light (UV light) Pre­vi­ous eye in­jury or in­flam­ma­tion Pre­vi­ous eye surgery Pro­longed use of cor­ti­cos­teroid med­i­ca­tions Smok­ing Ge­netic fac­tors
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