The Importance of Sight (reblog)

I have hyperopia or long-sightedness. Also, when I was very young – maybe three or so – I had an operation and other treatment to correct a ‘lazy eye’ or “strabismus” (I learnt a new technical word for this post! Cool!). That means eye muscles in one eye had to be tightened a bit for me to focus properly because it was letting the other eye do all the work. That determined which eye was the dominant eye and from that point on (I think), I’ve worn glasses.

Due to the degree of hyperopia in different eyes, one glasses lens is slightly thicker than the other. When I was in primary school in particular, if I tried to read or do anything close-up without my glasses on I’d get read bad headaches. Now, thanks perhaps to me working with computers, as well as genetics, I have a bit of myopia (short-sightedness) too. Don’t ask me to read smallish print at distances greater than two-three metres or less.

Why am I blathering on about this? Because (as discussed below) our sight is important so we need to protect it.

6 steps to save your sight


When we think about prevention in health care, we tend to focus on the worst diseases, those that threaten life- cancer, heart attacks, stroke, violence. But non-fatal conditions can also “threaten life”, putting the quality of our lives in danger.

Limited vision contributes to severe and significant loss of function and well being. If you include people whose vision problems are corrected with glasses or contacts, it may be the most common disability in the world. But even excluding those people, vision loss still affects millions of people in the world.


Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)

Here are some key facts about vision loss from

WHO (World Health Organization)


  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.
  • 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has reduced in the last 20 years according to global estimates work.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

A refractive error is a very common eye disorder. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world, causing blurred vision.

The four most common refractive errors are:

  1. myopia (nearsightedness): difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly;
  2. hyperopia (farsightedness): difficulty in seeing close objects clearly;
  3. astigmatism: distorted vision resulting from an irregularly curved cornea, the clear covering of the eyeball.
  4. presbyopia: which leads to difficulty in reading or seeing at arm’s length, it is linked to ageing and occurs almost universally.

Refractive errors are commonly corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or refractive surgery. 

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