Around 1.3 billion people live with some form of vision impairment world-wide, says WHO. And, most of them are over the age of 50 years. But sometimes, due to health disorders, even children may suffer from this condition. WHO also says that one can avoid almost 80 per cent of vision impairment cases across the globe with proper care and knowledge.

The major causes behind this problem were found to be uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. Vision impairment means that you may not be able to see very well even if you wear eyeglasses and contact lenses. This vision loss persists even after medication and surgery. And it can range from mild to severe. Almost 188.5 million people have mild distance vision impairment, 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment and 36 million people are blind whereas 826 million people live with a near vision impairment.

Vision impairment is of two types – distance vision impairment and near vision impairment. Other than these, some of the other major causes of vision impairment are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, corneal opacity, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma.

OPTIC NERVE STIMULATION CAN POTENTIALLY TREAT VISUAL IMPAIRMENT: RESEARCH

Scientists are constantly trying to bring hope for all visually impaired patients. According to a research published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers have developed a technology that can bypass the eyeball entirely. It will send messages to your brain, creating a way for a new visual help that will enable you to live effectively.

Scientists have tried a new type of intraneural electrode known as OpticSELINE. This is able to stimulate your optic nerve. The new technology was successfully tested in rabbits. This device has 12 electrodes that stimulate nerve fibre.

During the study, scientists sent electric current to the optic nerve of rabbits through OpticSELINE and then measured the activities in a part of the brain called the visual cortex. Further, the study team developed an elaborate algorithm. This was done to decode the cortical signals. At the end, they found that each stimulating electrode generates a specific and unique pattern of cortical activation. This suggests that intraneural stimulation of the optic nerve is selective and informative.

Notably, the idea behind this study was to produce phosphenes, which is the sensation of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.

AVOID VISION IMPAIRMENT WITH A FEW LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Your eyesight can deteriorate with age. Also, if you are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned above, you are at extremely high risk of developing vision impairment. And you need to take required actions to prevent the condition. Here we reveal some ways to avoid vision impairment.

Indulge in physical exercise

It helps indirectly to protect your vision. Exercising daily can help you prevent health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. All these health disorders may

cause chronic vision loss. High sugar level in your blood can potentially damage your blood vessels present in the retina. This can result in an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. Whereas hypertension can damage arteries supplying blood to your retina and cause retinopathy.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity can cause inflammation and high blood pressure, arterial diseases and diabetes. All these can cause vision problems. According to a study published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, obesity doubles your risk of vision loss compared to people with normal weight. In fact, the bigger your waistline, the higher your risk of vision loss is. Increased levels of triglycerides in the blood is deposited in the retinal arteries and this can cause partial vision loss. To maintain a healthy weight, you can opt for healthy foods like green vegetables, avoid junk foods, go for exercise daily, get enough sleep and avoid overeating.

Keep your sugar levels under control

As mentioned earlier, elevated sugar levels can damage small arteries present in the retina and cause vision loss. High blood sugar level can also cause cataract. It can lead to swelling in the lens of your eye that can potentially make it difficult for you to see. Therefore, it is essential to keep your glucose level under control. To do that, you should control your carb intake (avoid rice, wheat, etc. for some time), start eating fibre-rich foods like pulses, berries, nuts, oats, broccoli, etc. Control your stress level and keep your body hydrated.

Stop smoking

You need to stop smoking. Nicotine addiction is bad. It generates free radicals that damage your vision. These chemicals can actually react with the eye membrane and your genetic material and further destroy cells and tissues present in the eye. According to experts in the field, smoking can increase your risk of developing dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when there is not enough lubrication in your eyes. This means that your eyes are not producing enough tears. Age-related macular degeneration affects the part of your eye that allows you to see something clearly. Glaucoma is an eye condition that is characterised by damage to your optic nerves. Cataract is basically a condition in which a clouding occurs on your eye lens.

To avoid vision loss from any of these conditions, you should stop smoking. To do that you can go for nicotine replacement therapy, avoid any triggers and reward yourself every time you control your urge to smoke.

Published: August 21, 2019 8:54 pm | Updated:August 21, 2019 8:57 pm






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