Every October, Blindness Awareness Month casts a spotlight on the challenges faced by the visually impaired. As per the World Health Organisation's statistics, a staggering 2.2 billion individuals globally contend with visual impairments or blindness. Alarmingly, timely medical interventions could have prevented the conditions of approximately 1 billion of these individuals, who suffer from issues like refractive errors, glaucoma, cataracts, and presbyopia.
The Ramifications of Vision Impairment
Vision impairment affects individuals on several fronts, including personal, economic, emotional, and psychological.
On a Personal and Economic Level: Statistics from the World Bank and EYElliance reveal that visually impaired children are at a disadvantage when it comes to completing primary education compared to their peers without such disabilities. For the adult population, it becomes challenging to find suitable employment opportunities, resulting in decreased workforce participation. Older adults are particularly vulnerable, with heightened risks of physical injuries from accidents like falls. It's estimated that vision impairment has resulted in an economic productivity loss nearing US $411 billion. This figure swells further when medical expenses are factored in.
On an Emotional and Psychological Level: Visually impaired children often grapple with mental health challenges like anxiety and depression due to their limitations. For many adults, blindness can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
The Genesis of Blindness Awareness Month: The inception of Blindness Awareness Month in 2009 is attributed to The Little Rock Foundation. The Fiorentino couple, Tina and Rocco, initiated it in light of their son, Rocco's premature birth, which led to his blindness. Their son's journey embodies the idea that visual impairments don't hinder one's path to success.
Making a Difference This Month: There are myriad ways to contribute:
Dive deep into vision care knowledge via webinars.
Make a monetary contribution to charities focused on the visually impaired.
Offer assistance to those with low vision in personal and professional settings.
Spearhead fundraising campaigns for organisations serving the blind.
Broadcast your sentiments about Blindness Awareness Month on digital platforms.
Rally those around you to support the cause.
Engage with the visually impaired community, fostering positivity.
Preventing Vision Impairment: Timely intervention can stave off numerous eye ailments. For instance, cataract surgeries can restore vision, and glasses can address refractive errors. Even conditions that may not lead to blindness but can cause discomfort, such as dry eyes or conjunctivitis, should be promptly treated to prevent future complications.
For maintaining optimal eye health:
Regulate your blood sugar: Those with diabetes face a heightened risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a potential cause of blindness. Regular health checks, a balanced diet, and yearly eye examinations are crucial.
Prioritise hygiene: Always ensure clean hands, especially for contact lens users, to mitigate the risk of eye infections.
Shield your eyes from UV rays: Consistently wearing sunglasses outdoors can prevent UV-induced eye damage.
At Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital & Research Centre, we are resolute in our commitment to championing the cause of the visually impaired and fostering eye health awareness. This Blindness Awareness Month, let's pledge to cultivate lifelong habits that prioritise our vision and extend our support to those in need at the best eye hospital in Lucknow, Gurgaon.