Our eyes are a gift. It is only because of our vision that we can enjoy the many wonders of nature today. Planning vacations to places like Ladakh, Shimla and Manali is mainly for their scenic beauty. Well, the amazing weather helps too, no doubt. But the mountains, the quiet, the greenery are always an added plus. Imagining a life where we had never seen any of it and it was all pitch black from the very beginning seems impossible, not to mention, frightening.
Unfortunately, vision is a luxury that a large portion of the population is not privileged to have. 60% of the world’s population, which is 4.2 billion people, has poor eyesight. Even worse, only 1.7 billion of those have their vision corrected. Meanwhile, a staggering 2.5 billion people are unable to see properly.
We often take vision for granted. The thing with headaches and back pain is that you feel its immediate impact, but it’s not the case with weak vision. It is a gradual deterioration process so it becomes even more important to make sure that you look after your eyes from the very beginning.
VISION PROBLEM IN INDIA
Talking about India in specific, with as much as 50% of its population facing vision problems, India has been rightly termed as the ‘blind capital of the world’. If you think about it, 75% of Indians live in rural areas so, logically speaking, the statistics do make sense. Most of the people settled in rural areas do not have access to healthcare and basic amenities, let alone to an Optometrist so, naturally, eye problems become a common recurrence.
But can a vision problem prove to be a problem for anything other than the eye? Well, yes.
India has nearly 550 million of its population, which is about half the people, afflicted with poor vision. Due to this, India’s annual productivity sees a loss of about 203,500 crore. Improving vision would lead to a remarkable increase in the country’s growth and production.
With a staggering number of victims of poor eyesight, a major problem is that most of them don’t even realize that they are in dire need of vision correction. In India, 41% of children (under 18 years), 42% of workers, 42% of drivers, and 45% of elderly need visual correction.
ADVANTAGES OF GOOD EYESIGHT
Vision can prove to be a powerful weapon. Correcting and preventing poor vision can be a driving force for Indian economy’s growth. By working together and meeting the vision problem effectively, Indian workers can increase their incomes by 30% and their productivity by 25%, children’s grades can improve and the number of road accidents will go down.
But how can we meet this problem efficiently?
SOLUTION FOR VISION PROBLEMS
About 80% of eye problems are preventable, so it is of paramount significance for us to take necessary precautions.
With about 100 million over-the-age-of-60 inhabitants, it is highly essential that we take care of the health and welfare services of our aging population, which involves increasing screenings for a range of eye diseases and providing timely eye examinations.
On a personal level, no matter what our profession is, we should take responsibility for the well-being of our own eyes with regular examinations, and also advice others to do the same.
Coming to professionals related to this field, scientists and researchers should develop effective low-cost treatments by tracing the causes of visual impairment. The NGOs should advocate for these low-cost treatments to reach the remotest areas of the country. Countries and institutional donors must actively provide funding in order to end visual problems. Private sector should also join hands with the public sector and support the research and development of affordable treatments. Also, journalists should ensure that the scale of the problem and the advantages of effectively addressing it are communicated to the required parties.
We all should make sure that we give utmost importance to our eyes and get good eye care before it gets too late. After all, prevention is better than cure.