A large amount of visual impairment can be prevented, but what measures can be taken to ensure that this happens?
Regular comprehensive eye exams can detect eye disorders before any vision is lost.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) suggest a number of simple steps that can be taken to ensure your eyes are as healthy as they can be:
1. Do not smoke. Smoking has been associated with increased risks of developing cataracts, optic nerve damage and age-related macular degeneration
2. Eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight
3. Clean your hands and contact lenses properly to reduce the risk of eye infection
4. Know you family's eye health history. Many serious eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa are hereditary and knowing your risk of developing such conditions can improve the level of treatment available
5. Have a comprehensive eye exam. The only way to be completely sure of the health of the eyes is to visit an qualified Optometrist.
The World Heath Organisation states that over the past 20 years there has been significant progress in preventing and curing visual impairment in many countries around the world. In 2013, the World Health Assembly approved the 2014-19 Action Plan for the universal access to eye health. The aim of this plan is to reduce avoidable visual impairments by 25% by 2019.
While many people believe that the loss of vision is one of the health problems that could have the biggest impact on everyday life, it is encouraging to think that visual impairment is no longer as absolute a prospect as it once was. This is largely do to the advancements in technology and science in the last few decades.