Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Ph.D.
Senior Business Adviser, Vision Science Academy, London, UK.
Vision Science Academy Exclusive
What makes vision the most unique sensation in our lives? Although visual function is not imperative to our survival, it still constitutes one of the most essential aspects of our daily life activities. With a poor quality of vision, we can only expect our productivity to decrease immensely which can progressively endanger our personal, social, educational, and economic wellbeing. Unquestionably, loss of vision can also deprive an individual from being entertained by the scenic beauty of the amazing world around them.
World Sight Day: What is it about?
World Sight Day is an annual event which is celebrated in October every year. This year, it will be arranged globally on 14th October 2021. The World Sight Day offers humanity a much-needed dose of awareness regarding the importance of eye healthcare. Given that nearly 1 billion people throughout the world have some form of preventable visual disorder should provoke us all to engage in preventative measures to resolve the situation (“Blindness and vision impairment,” 2021). It is noteworthy that many of such preventative measures are certainly not related to seeking professional eye care but are largely related to adopting a healthy set of preferences in daily lifestyle. For example, many notorious ocular infections can be simply avoided by routine hand washing.
Preventable Causes of Blindness
Let’s look at the most prevalent preventable causes of blindness worldwide. Although the senile degenerative conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and adult cataracts are largely considered inevitable, there are several other ocular disorders that are considered as preventable, such as diabetic retinopathy. Its onset is only gradual; this means that it takes nearly one or two decades after the initial diagnosis of type 2 diabetes before retinopathy sets in permanently. This can only be prevented or somehow delayed by maintaining a good control and compliance towards life-long blood-glucose lowering medication, or insulin treatment (Lee, Wong, & Sabanayagam, 2015).
In the developing world however, the most important cause of preventable blindness still remains to be trachoma (Thylefors, 1998). It is an infectious illness caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterial agent which can be transmitted through use of infected fomites such as towels or other items of clothing. A thorough preventative approach exists to counter this disease i.e., SAFE protocol: surgery, antibiotics, and facial and environmental hygiene. Nonetheless, this infection still results in over 1.9 million cases of blindness every year (“Trachoma,” 2021). Refractive errors constitute another common cause of visual loss which can be simply prevented by paying a regular visit to the eye clinic.
Take Home Message
Our life choices largely determine who we are. Similarly, our own understanding of eye health can help us shape our plan of action for a better visual healthcare. On this World Sight Day, we must pledge to boost our basic knowledge about precautionary measures related to the prevention of blindness. Only then we can ensure the prosperity of ourselves as well as our dearest ones.
Blindness and vision impairment. (2021). Retrieved from
Lee, R., Wong, T. Y., & Sabanayagam, C. (2015). Epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema and related vision loss. Eye Vis (Lond), 2, 17. doi:10.1186/s40662-015-0026-2
Thylefors, B. (1998). A global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness. Community Eye Health, 11 (25), 1-3.
Trachoma. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/trachoma