In India, most people consider it unimportant or are generally unaware about the benefits of
getting their eyes tested regularly. Across the world, 36 million people are blind and 253 million
people suffer from vision-related problems. The major causes of visual impairment are
uncorrected refractive errors (43%) and cataract (33%). Most of the blindness (approx 80%) is
avoidable i.e. curable or preventable. 4 out of 5 people who are blind, could have avoided their
vision impairment.

For a majority of the eye problems, there is a clinical solution as well as a clinical know-how
easily available. Yet the number of people that avail these treatments for these commonly
occurring refractive errors and curable cataract, continue to be inadequate. Lack of awareness
and absence of easy access to corrective measures remain crucial factors responsible for this
gap. It is absolutely necessary to educate people about the need for timely vision correction.
Glaucoma is the number one cause of blindness in the world and belongs to a group of eye
diseases that damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. It is sometimes called the “silent
thief of sight” since it is not until the disease is at an advanced stage that the related vision loss
becomes apparent, and by then the sight may suffer irreversible damage. This is why it’s
extremely important to get a regular eye checkup to help protect vision, even if the eyesight is

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new blindness and a very common eye disease for
people with diabetes. International Diabetes Federation reports that 74 percent of people who
have suffered from diabetes for 10 years or more will develop some form of diabetic
retinopathy. Fortunately, it could be prevented by early detection and appropriate intervention
through periodic retina checkups and making healthy lifestyle choices.
At my outpatient clinic, not a single day passes without observing at least one patient who
could have prevented the loss of eyesight through timely measures and simple medical
interventions. We make sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to treatment but feel
despondent when the attempts become futile because of trivial reasons like a delay in
approaching the eye care facility.

Similar to the periodic body and health check-ups, a regular eye check-ups can detect eye
problems which could be sight threatening in the near future. One of the ways to educate the
public and increase awareness concerning eye care and emphasize the importance of regular
eye check-ups could be through social media campaigns, in addition to awareness camps.

World Sight Day provides a global moment to draw attention for action to this cause and to
make timely eye care a reality.

Dr. L.V.K. Raju
Sr. Cataract & Refractive Surgeon
MaxiVision Super Specialty Eye