Populations around the world are rapidly ageing. Ageing presents both challenges and opportunities. It will increase demand for primary health care and long-term care, require a larger and better trained workforce and intensify the need for environments to be made more age-friendly.
With increase in ageing population we need to be aware that many eye diseases have no symptoms. They may develop painlessly and may go unnoticed until the condition has got advanced. People with diabetes or hypertension and those on long term medication for other aliments like oral steroids, ethambutol, hydrox-chloroquine may develop eye related side effects. The following are some vision disorders that require early diagnosis so that needless blindness can be avoided and lays emphasis on the practice of preventive medicine in the community around us.
Age Related Macular Degeneration:
The eye disease that affects the macula (the most light sensitive tissue and region of central vision ) and causes loss of central vision.
Cloudy or opaque areas on the lens inside the eye due to ageing and causes blur vision, glare and low contrast causing poor quality of work and less productivity and increases dependency. This is a condition that can be reversed completely by surgical intervention.
A group eye diseases characterised by irreversible optic nerves damage resulting loss of peripheral (side or field) vision and left untreated can cause percent blindness. There is a strong family association for glaucoma and the importance of family screening needs to be a highlighted in preventing irreversible vision loss
Occurs in diabetics and results in progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina and affects both eyes. There can retinal oedema or blood in the vitreous gel that may require constant monitoring and treatment with injections, lasers or surgery to preserve vision. Any person with history of diabetes needs an annual retinal exam to prevent percent vision loss by early detection and treatment
Maintaining good vision is an important part of “active ageing” a concept promoted by world health organisation (WHO). Active ageing means continued health, security and participation in society as people age, in order to ensure good quality of life in later years. As eye care practitioners, we should work together with other health and social services to help dependent population in both extremes of age to remain as active as possible in later years.
Community out reach programme
There are 45 million blind persons in the World, of which 12 millions blind persons is in India including 1% is due corneal blindness.
As per WHO estimates the blind population will double by 2020 due to rise in population and longevity. Cataract is the commonest cause of blindness (62.6%) followed by uncorrected refractive errors (19.7%); Corneal Blindness (0.90%), Glaucoma (5.80%), Surgical Complication (1.20%) Posterior Capsular Opacification (0.90%) Posterior Segment Disorder (4.70%) and Others (4.19%).
The community out reach programme is always a integrated part of sathyan eye care hospital & coimbatore glaucoma foundation. There are different programmes conducted depending on the need and availability of resources. The different programs include: comprehensive eye screening: as part of chief Minster’s health programme every month a local eye screening camp is conducted in the community.