* World Sight Day on Oct 14, 2021
* By Dr. Satya Prasad Balki, MS, FCAS, Cornea, Phaco & Refractive Surgeon, MaxiVision Group of Eye Hospitals
As the excerpt from ’Neeti satakam’ written by the great scholar Chanakya says - ‘sarvendriyanam nayanam pradhanam’, which literally means, of all the senses, the sense of vision is supreme! Ever wondered why he made this observation?! Because-80% of knowledge that we acquire is through our vision. Without vision, the other senses of hearing, taste, smell, and touch cannot differentiate! If you are blindfolded and made to smell a rose and a bottle of rose perfume, Can you differentiate?!
This only goes to show how our ancient scholars understood the importance of vision and documented it, ‘father of surgery’ Sushruta had described in detail the anatomy of the eye and its diseases like cataract and its treatment which involved displacing the cataractous lens with a sharp instrument inside the eye known as couching.
In the year 2000 WHO started to celebrate the second Thursday of every October as ‘WORLD SIGHT DAY’. This initiative is to bring global awareness to the issues of eye care facilities and preventable blindness. As I write this article, there are over 1 billion people worldwide with no access to eye care or even a basic eye examination, most suffering from treatable conditions such as cataracts wherein the natural lens of the eye loses its transparency, a surgery to replace this with an artificial lens suffices in restoring vision, refractive errors like simple myopia, hyperopia, especially in young children-which, only need spectacle correction, diabetic retinopathy in adults wherein the retina of eyes is damaged due to uncontrolled diabetes, which warrants prompt treatment to avoid permanent loss of vision.
As an eye doctor, I know that these conditions are indeed treatable with timely intervention; all it takes is access to the patient. In our practice we regularly have outreach programmes wherein we travel to remote corners of the country and conduct eye camps, the response to these camps is simply overwhelming with patients turning up in thousands every single time, which highlights the gravity of the situation and the need to administer timely treatment and spread awareness.
Hence the WHO has set a goal that by the year 2030 there should be an increase of 40% in effective coverage of refractive errors and a 30% increase in cataract procedures around the world.
Today is world sight day ( 14th Oct 2021)! And the theme this year is ‘’love your eyes’’, which is more relevant now than ever. With people locked up in their homes, work from home option has only worsened the burden we put on our eyes, mind you, eyes are as resilient as they are sensitive, they best try to accommodate the stress we put them under. Online classes for kids are increasing the rate of refractive errors. So we need to take care of our eyes, try and reduce screen time, get frequent and thorough eye checkups with your eye doctor and follow their advice, which is one of the objectives of this year’s sight day-
Let us pledge to Get an eye checkup and encourage our friends and family to follow the same.
Pledge to protect our eyes
Pledge to create awareness about preventable blindness and the need for eye donation
I urge my readers to use social media on this day to spread the message of eye care with the hashtag #loveyoureyes and make this unique initiative a success.
Also, with the festival season coming up, kindly exercise caution while playing with fireworks as they can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage to your eyes, which is substantiated by the fact that the few days around Diwali are the busiest for eye doctors. Maintain a safe distance while playing with fireworks and use of protective eyewear is imperative.
I Would like to end with another fascinating trivia, did you know that the basic design and function of a camera is based on well the way the eye functions-technology mimics biology! We spend a fortune on a high-end smartphone or an SLR camera when our eyes have a staggering resolution of 576 pixels!! Now that’s a crystal clear picture!! and you have got two at no expense !!
I hope with these few words I have done my bit to spread the message -love, cherish and nourish your eyes because they are precious!
Stay healthy! Live better!!