EXCLUSIVE: World Sight Day 2021: Expert reveals the symptoms & importance of early detection of eye diseases
When was the last time we decided to go for a regular eye check-up? Many will say a few years back, while others won't even remember if they had one in many years. Why, because all is fine till you can see properly, right? And who cares even if we see a few blurred lines here and there, and floaters when we close our eyes, because after all, a cup of tea will be the perfect cure for this.
However, on World Sight Day, Dr. Sameer Kaushal, Senior Consultant & Head (Ophthalmology), Artemis Hospitals Gurugram, tells you that it is imperative to look out for signs that may signal a problem in your eyes. “Symptoms of the eye that should always be looked into include - any blurriness of vision, floaters (small specks, dots, lines or webs seen floating around in the visual field) or spontaneous flashes (sparks of light usually seen in darkness), intolerance to light & glare, redness of eyes persistent for more than a few hours and seeing rainbow-coloured halos around light,” lists Kaushal.
These symptoms, he says, can be an indicator of underlying eye disease such as cataract, glaucoma, retinal diseases and uveitis. These diseases should be detected and treated early to prevent severe visual loss.
He adds that unfortunately most people equate a check-up for glasses as a complete eye check-up. This check-up usually done by an optometrist is an important but small part of a complete eye check-up. “All children should undergo regular age-appropriate eye evaluation starting from school going age. All adults above 40 years of age, especially those with Diabetes and family history of glaucoma should undergo an annual screening for common eye disorders. Adults less than 40 years of age do not have any mandatory regular eye check-up requirement unless there are any predisposing issues like Diabetes, family history of glaucoma or high myopia,” opines Kaushal.
In adults, Diabetes induced retina damage (diabetic retinopathy) and glaucoma are frequently ignored as these tend to cause late symptoms. “Lack of awareness about the need for regular eye check-ups for early detection of these diseases is the major culprit. In children, amblyopia is the most commonly ignored disorder. It can be easily treated with the use of appropriate glasses but only if detected at an early age,” says Kaushal.
The importance of early detection increases manifold because most eye diseases require early detection to prevent severe permanent visual loss. “Contrary to the popular belief, eye transplantation does not translate to replacement of the whole of the eye. Most parts of the eye, especially the retina and the optic nerve cannot be replaced. The only parts that can be replaced once damaged is the lens (in cataract surgery) and the cornea in front (in corneal transplantation). Retina and optic nerve once damaged cannot be replaced. Therefore, diseases of the retina especially Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma need early detection and treatment to prevent vision loss,” explains Kaushal.