by The Welthi Bureau | 24th October, 2018
World Eyesight Day on October 11th was a true eye-opener, as Indians were alerted about the findings of an Asia-Pacific Eye Health Survey that revealed they were at a higher risk of eye damage due to the excessive use of digital devices.
The digital age, with its vast benefits, also has its risk factors. According to a health survey, 9 out of 10 people experience blurred vision and severe headaches, after spending hours glued to their mobile, laptop, or television screens.
Sufferers of these digital device side effects, however, displayed a disturbing sense of apathy towards their eye problems and failed to recognize the ongoing hazard of using digital devices for prolonged durations of time. Surveys conducted by Alcon, across Australia, China, Taiwan, India, and South Korea, showed that a quarter of the respondents chose to ignore the problem, and only 1 out of 5 people agreed to seek medical advice and treatment. The survey also showed that Indians spend the most amount of time (48%-52% - over four hours a day) on computers and/or smartphones. More than 50% complained of eye strain, exhibiting symptoms like tired, red and dry eyes.
Though all the people who participated in the survey admitted to experiencing vision discomfort, the Chinese had the maximum number of people (30%) complaining of hazy or blurred vision and bad distance vision.
India had the most number of people complaining of severe eye and head pain (34%), as well as people with distance vision difficulties (33%). 31% Indian respondents planned to visit a doctor – the highest percentage amongst all the five countries participating in the survey, while up to 43% of the South Koreans chose to ignore their problems, and only 11% planned to consult a doctor.
Further surprising results showed that compared to five years ago, 30% Indians believed their sight had deteriorated, 42% felt their vision was the same, and 28% thought their sight had improved.
Dr. Sandeep Bothra, Country head - Surgical, Alcon Labs - India, said, “Sight is one of the most important faculties of a human being, and yet people fail to take proper care of their eyes.” For instance, the survey showed that 30% of the people had never had an eye check-up in their lives! Dr Bothra further emphasized that seeking help in case of eye and vision problems is vital to minimize further deterioration. Though many of the people in the survey felt they were taking care of their eyes by relaxing them after excessive screen time, Dr. Bothra stressed that this was not adequate.
This year the motto of World Sight Day is ‘Eye Care Everywhere’. The aim is to create more and more awareness about eye care issues and the importance of getting one’s eyesight tested.
There are around 253 million people suffering from different kinds of vision loss problems. WHO defines vision loss like loss of sight that gives birth to problems which cannot be corrected by glasses. The main causes of blindness include cataract and glaucoma, and reasons for vision impairment include uncorrected refractive errors and mangled cataract.
While age does play a vital role in the deterioration of eyesight, factors such as excessive screen time are also to be blamed. Digital devices emit blue and yellow light, proven to cause strain and discomfort in the eyes. Continued exposure leads to permanent impairment of vision in later years. The good news is that timely diagnosis and treatment can save up to 80% of vision impairment cases.
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