According to the first World Vision Report released by the World Health Organization on October 8, 2019, at least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment or blindness, of which over 1 billion cases could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed. Vision-related problems are four times more likely to happen in developing countries as compared to richer nations.
World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, warned people with its first report on vision regarding vision impairment problems. The report stated that most of the children spend excessive time indoors and this is the reason linked to developing eye conditions like myopia. Though more than a quarter of the world’s population suffer from vision impairment out of which, 1 billion cases could have been prevented or are yet to be addressed.
The report emphasised that a $14.3 billion investment is required in ophthalmological care, especially in middle income and low-income countries. This move will help end avoidable eye problems that affect one in seven people around the world. This dramatic rise in vision impairment world-wide is due to inadequate access to ophthalmological care, ageing population and sedentary life has led to increase in these numbers, especially in low- middle-income countries who are considered to be the main drivers of the rising numbers of people living with vision impairment.
According to the organization, blindness reaches up to eight times higher in poor regions of the world. Some of the main driving factors of the most common eye conditions include myopia (short- sightedness) due to increased time spent indoors and doing more ’near work’ activities, Diabetic retinopathy (the more the number of diabetics, more is the risk of developing retinopathy) and late detection which delays the process of healing.
WHO explained that eyesight problems worsen with age but these should not be seen as irreparable old age problems. The report was published two days before the World Vision day which is celebrated on 10 th October.
Foods that help improve vision:
- Fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel & herring) have good amount of omega-3 fatty acids in them that boost eye-health.
- Nuts and legumes like walnuts, peanuts, and cashews have high levels of Vitamin E and omega 3-fatty acids.
- Seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds too are high in omega-3.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemon are rich in Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that helps cure eye related damages.
- Carrots have beta carotene and Vitamin A which helps vision.
- Green leafy veggies like spinach, collards, kale rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are eye-friendly.
How we can help ourselves by reducing the risk of vision impairment:
- Spend some time outdoor, especially under natural sunlight
- Routine eye check-ups, especially for diabetics
- Keep diabetes levels under check
- Indulge in regular physical activity
- Pay less heed to screen time
- Take frequent breaks while working on screen
- Switch off screens (television, laptops, and mobiles) 2 hours before sleeping.
- Eating eye-friendly foods
Measures to be taken at larger scale
- Stronger incorporation of eye care is needed within national health services, including primary health care centres, to ensure that the eye care needs of more people are taken care of, through prevention, early detection, treatment and rehabilitation, the report found.
- Eye care services and rehabilitation, must be provided closer to communities for people to achieve their maximum potential.
- Services like optical magnifiers and reading use Braille, smartphone way finders application and orientation & mobility training with white canes can be easily accessible to visually impaired people.
Let’s take this very first report as an alarming warning and take a step before the ratio reaches to an irreversible level. Hence, it is suggested to follow a diet that includes nourishing food items giving yourself a necessary break from all the eye-straining gadgets and gizmos.