Globally, blindness continues to be a major challenge in both developing and developed countries. It is estimated that about 285million people are visually impaired worldwide and the number is growing daily owing to increasing population and negligent life styles. A blind person is not only a burden to himself but also to those around him. In this article, we will be looking at the top reasons people turn blind before they reach 65yrs.
Cataract is the clouding of the normal human lens. The human eye lenses, called crystalline lenses are responsible for focusing the images we see on our retina. Cataract is the world’s leading cause of blindness, accounting for 43% of blind people worldwide. One of the causes of cataract is ageing. As people age, they have an increased chance of developing cataract. By the time most of us turn 65,we may have some form of clouding in our crystalline lenses. The good news is that cataract can be treated and the vision restored. The techniques for treating cataract have improved over the years. In Nigeria for example, at laser surgery centres, cataract extraction takes less than 10min.
Glaucoma is the most dreaded eye disease because it causes irreversible loss of sight. It is often called “The silent thief of sight” because it is symptomless. In developed countries, more than 50% of the people who have glaucoma are not aware. In developing countries like Nigeria, more70% of the people who have glaucoma are not aware. As we move towards our 60s, our chances of having glaucoma increases, so also if we have family members who suffer from the disease. To avoid losing our sight, we should increase the frequency of eye check ups once we get past the age of 40.Those who have their eyes examined frequently after age 40 have a reduced chance of going blind before 65.
3. Age Related Macular Degeneration(AMD):
This is an eye condition that results in progressive loss of central vision. The onset is usually in older people. It could be early, intermediate or advance stage. In the advance stage, there is usually total loss of central vision. Genetics, smoking and age are common risk factors for age related macular degeneration.AMD is the leading cause of blindness in UK affecting about 4.8million people in the UK. Eye supplements could slow the progression of the disease in people who already have it.AMD can cause severe vision loss in people before they turn 65.Treatment for AMD involve anti VEGF injections.
Diabetes diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects people with longstanding diabetes. The disease causes damage to the retinal blood vessels especially in people with uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes. It affects 80% of people who have had diabetes for 20yrs or more. Its accounts for a significant amount of blindness in people aged between 20 and 60.Making sure the sugar level is controlled in people who are diabetic could significantly reduce the chance of blindness from diabetic retinopathy before age 65.
Hope you are blessed by this article. I want to suggest you book an appointment for eye exams. This helps in early detection of any eye problem and prompt action could save blindness. At Centre for Sight Africa, we are committed to enhance the quality of life by reviving the joys of vision as we take pride in offering the latest world-class technologies for eye care and ophthalmic treatments at very affordable cost.
Dr. Kingsley Ogwumu, OD
Senior Consultant Optometrist,
Centre for Sight Africa.