Can you read this blog without glasses? 5 billion people can't. Good vision plays a key role in the sustainable development of local communities and economies, opening countless doors in education, employment, travel and personal wellbeing, so it's to our collective benefit to keep it in check. However, we are not quite doing that. 89% of people with visual impairments live in lower-income countries, where it can be hard to see a doctor or be treated.
36 million people are blind (a number amounting close to the population of Canada!) and a whopping 30% of the world's population live with myopia. Experts fear that this number could rise to 50% (a staggering 5 billion people) making myopia a future epidemic if we don't start being proactive about our vision. The thing is, 75% of all sight problems could be prevented with eye tests, as they can help diagnose common eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma.
This year, we're proud to join the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in energising people around the world to start treating avoidable conditions, such as myopia.
We can't stress the importance of an eye test enough. Children should have one every year, while adults should book one in every two years. Those with a family history of glaucoma or diabetes, or those aged 40 or over, should speak to an optician about adjusting the frequency of their tests.
The process of an eye test might seem daunting, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Lasting no more than 30mins, it simply consists of 3 parts: discussing your history, measuring the quality of your vision and finally, a summary of your results (being a simple 'all good', or information on your prescription). If you're still unsure, there are things you can do at home to put your mind at ease, such as browsing our Eye Care Information Centre or taking this handy online eye test.
What is myopia?
Myopia, or shortsightedness, is a refractive error, in which the eye grows longer and perceives the light in varying levels of focus. For example, close-up tasks such as reading or cooking enter the peak of the cornea and are seen clearly, while road/bus signs and other distant objects appear out of focus.
These days, our lives are filled with task-based activities, so myopia can go unnoticed and untreated. It doesn't help that its other symptoms are really subtle too: squinting, eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. In most cases, myopia starts from childhood and continues to progress with age, and the only way to diagnose it is with an eye test. The good news is that there are numerous different treatment options for myopia, the most convenient and affordable one being contact lenses.
Seeing the bigger picture
Being a part of World Sight Day is so important to what we do. For over 25 years, our team of opticians has been committed to increasing awareness of eye healthcare the world over. Since 2014, Vision Direct has been a proud member of Vision Aid Overseas, fostering community growth in South Ethiopia by providing financial support, glasses, and frames. By 2020, we'll have screened over 200,000 people living below the poverty line and provided them with 20,000 lenses and glasses - and looking after the environment while we're at it.
Vision Direct is here to provide support and help you care for your vision, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; simply get in touch with our customer service team who can help with any uncertainties. On this World Sight Day, let's commit to seeing the world together. Join the conversation on social media using #VisionFirst #WSD2019