New Delhi: There has been an increase in eye problems, especially among those aged over 50 and the diabetic, health experts have noted ahead of World Sight Day Oct 13.
Parul Sharma, senior eye consultant Max Healthcare, said: "The trend which I have observed in past few months is that diabetes-related eye problems have considerably increased. Since the number of diabetes patients is on the rise, diabetes-related eye disorders like glaucoma have increased."
"One interesting update is that there has been research on culture of stem cells for the treatment of corneal diseases," Sharma added.
She said that even after several initiatives by the government such as the national blindness prevention programme and free cataract surgeries, most people do not avail the programmes due to lack of awareness.
According to eye specialist Rohan Chawla, also of Max Healthcare, there have been fewer cases of conjunctivitis this year compared to last year.
The main reasons behind eye problems are diabetes, eye injury, use of certain medications, infection or inflammation of the eye, radiation exposure, and pollution.
As far as cataract is concerned, it is rarely seen in children. And if it occurs, it is mainly due to a congenital defect or developmental anomaly.
A survey conducted in 2009 by I-care health management stated that over 3.8 million people in India suffer from cataract every year, with the maximum number of cases seen in people aged 50-60 years.
A 2010 report of World Health Organisation says that the number of people around the world with visual impairment is 285 million - 65 percent of whom are aged over 50. Of these, 246 million have low vision; 63 percent are aged over 50; and 39 million are estimated to be blind.
World Sight Day -- observed on the second Thursday in October -- is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness, visual impairment and rehabilitation of the visually impaired.
The day is also the main advocacy event for the prevention of blindness and for "Vision 2020: The Right to Sight", a global effort to prevent blindness created by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.