It’s only natural that being an ophthalmologist that I write this post. The reason? On any other day I would say “cos i am an ophthalmologist and that’s what I advice”. Not today. At least not the reason for this blog.
The reason that am writing this blog has something to do with my mom’s recent visit to my hospital. She actually didn’t come for an eye check up for herself . She came with one of my relatives for their eye check up. And on casual examination, i found out that my mom had already started developing cataract, though in its early stages, but soon enough will reach a point where she will need to go under the knife. Pretty normal for a 56-year-old i guess. But what i found out was that she also had a small hole in her retina, which if left untreated , might cause the retina to detach. Luckily, i noticed it and could treat it. Thats when i thought that even educated people are ignorant about their health and especially their eye.
So in this blog, i would like to point out certain conditions of the eye which can be treated easily to be screened for regularly.
GLASSES FOR REFRACTIVE ERRORS AND PRESBYOPIA
Whether you are wearing glasses for refractive errors or not, it doesn’t hurt to pay your ophthalmologist a yearly visit to see if those eyes of yours need glasses. Gone are the days of stigma of wearing thick sized spectacles. Now you have diverse options ranging from spectacles to contact lenses, the most sought after LASIK and even placing a lens inside ur eye (thus reducing the thickness of ur glass or even get rid of the glasses rarely).Even for those who wear reading glasses alone can get their eyes checked periodically as the power varies constantly over a period of time.
Not just the adults. Many children do not even realize that they have lower than normal vision becos they have never known what normal vision is. This is due to the refractive error manifesting at a very young age. The child will not only experience difficulty in daily activities, but will also slowly start adapting to the low vision that at one point, even if he/she is given glasses, they may not have a clear vision. Especially in children with refractive error in only one eye where that eye becomes “LAZY”. Early detection of this before the age of 13 has a high oppurtunity to be corrected with glasses/contact lenses and may even prevent the eye from going into an undesirable squint.
If u r having a “minus” power, that too a high one, it is also imperative to get it checked by a retina specialist to see if u have any “Tear” or “Hole” in ur retina. This can lead to the detachment of the whole of the retina leading to total loss of vision and the need to get operated.Early detection of the tear or hole can be managed by applying a certain type of retinal laser around them thus preventing the need for surgery.
Are u 50 + years? Ever felt like whatever u see looks like seeing through a thin sheet of waterfall? You might be having cataract. Cataract can be present even since birth. Cataract surgeries have gone a very long way from the simple introduction of a sterilized thorn or needle to laser assisted pinhole surgeries where the patient walks back on the same day all by himself. Delaying your cataract surgery may not have an adverse affect usually unless it’s a congenital cataract, but the longer u delay, the tougher it is gonna be for the surgeon to give a better result. Also a fully matured cataract can even cause an increase in the pressure of the eye(glaucoma), thus damaging your optic nerve permanently.
If u have already undergone cataract surgery in both your eyes, it doesn’t mean that u don’t need to get your eye checked again.Even after cataract surgery, there is a chance to develop something called as “After cataract”, a small opacity which develops in the remnants of the lens capsule.But it can be easily treated with a type of laser usually within minutes.So dont stay home cause of u r intimidated by the thought of surgery.
What is glaucoma?To put it in simpler terms, it is the damage of the nerve most commonly due to a raise in the eye pressure. The normal eye pressure ranges from 10-20 mm hg. But glaucoma can also be present in eyes with normal intra ocular pressure and the entity is called Normal Tension glaucoma.There has been a huge increase in the awareness of glaucoma compared to a few years back. But still it is not enough. The changes in ur eye due to glaucoma can be detected much earlier than it affects ur vision. All u need to do is get your retina checked periodically, especially when there is a family history of glaucoma. Not all glaucomatous eyes need to be operated. It can even be managed with just eye drops.
If glaucoma is left untreated, it will cause an irreversible total loss of vision. Since glaucoma usually affects the peripheral part of vision and gradually creeps to the centre, even educated people sometimes do not detect the progression until it is advanced..so have a regular check up, especially if u r 35 + yrs..
DIABETES AND HYPERTENSION
One of the leading causes of blindness in recent days can be attributed to the effects of uncontrolled and long-standing diabetes and hypertension in the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy(DR)- Like glaucoma, this also can prove to be a silent killer of your vision.the longer and uncontrolled ur diabetes is, the more the chances of u to develop diabetic retinopathy.Even if ur vision is normal,u may have diabetic changes in the retina. This is because, the macula(part of the retina), which is responsible for the centre part of ur vision might be spared in the early stages. And suddenly one day, u might have extensive bleeding due to advancement of diabetic retinopathy ending up in the surgeons table..Depending on the stage of the disease, one might even need to visit the doctor every 2-4 months. Discuss with ur ophthalmologist about ur stage of diabetic retinopathy if u r a known case of DR and the possible ways to prevent/delay the progression of the disease.
Hypertension- Unlike diabetes,the changes in retina due to hypertension can be easily controlled just with control of the systemic blood pressure alone.But in some cases, one of the major blood vessels of retina or a branch can get blocked.This will result in a sudden loss of vision. So make sure to control your blood pressure well unless u wanna end up losing ur vision despite spending lots of money on trying to treat it.
AGE RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION(ARMD)
The name is self-explanatory, isn’t it? It affects mainly people of old age. The advent of a new group of drugs, monoclonal antibodies, have played a major role in preventing the visual loss in patients suffering from the wet type of ARMD. Though the dry type doesn’t have any cure, some anti-oxidants have been found to delay the progression to some extent. This particular disease is best screened by a retina specialist, though even general ophthalmologists can easily identify it . Early diagnosis and treatment will give a chance to maintain or even improve vision in some cases.
PATHOLOGIES OF THE CORNEA
Ever seen a person having white coloured eyes rather than brown,blue or green,etc?a relative, a friend maybe? Its most probably due to an opacity of the transparent structure of the eye-The cornea.(There are other causes which make the eye appear white and some are even untreatable). Cornea is like the glass of a watch.The outermost part of the eye.The colour of the eye is usually due to the Iris which is like the dial of the watch. But certain individuals, who have had corneal trauma, ulcer, degeneration or few other diseases, develop an opacity in the usually transparent cornea making it white in colour.
Many of the corneal diseases if diagnosed early can be treated by a corneal transplantation. How? Ever heard of eye donation? Well, the thing is, only the cornea is being donated. The rest of the eye is discarded. This procedure can restore vision to even patients who have been blind due to a simple corneal opacity for years.Take ur friend or relative to Check in at ur nearest ophthalmologist clinic/hospital or better a cornea specialist to see if they are fit to undergo a corneal transplantation. Make that change in their life.
There are still many more, but these are more common and easily treatable causes of blindness just by regular follow-ups with an Ophthalmologist.
SAVE EYES, SAVE LIVES. 🙂