According to WHO eye defects and blindness statistics, of the 285 million individuals with eye problems, 39 million are blind. But did you know that close to 40 percent of the blind, an estimated 15 million people live in India? Such shocking statistics go on to show that even though visual 80 percent of all visual problems are concentrated in less developed countries, India still bears the bulk of these impairments.
But what causes these eye problems and what can the Indian government do about it? Studies by local and global health organisations including the WHO points out to such factors as lack of awareness about the different eye problems and economic strive among the most affected as well as insufficient number ophthalmologists as the leading causes of this daring health menace. For instance, with a population of over 1 billion people, the country only has 12,000 ophthalmologists.
What are the main eye diseases and disorders
Age-related Macular Degeneration
This points out to the deterioration of a light sensing tissue of the retina known as the macula. In most cases, this tissue loses sensitivity as one age and is the most cause of impaired vision and even blindness among persons past 60 years. There is no cure for macular degeneration, but it can be prevented through vitamins intake or laser therapy.
Cataracts refers to the painless but cloudy areas in the eye lens. In some cases, they remain small without affecting your sight. In other cases, they may spread and cover your eye thus limiting the penetration of light and images to the retina. It can be corrected through a surgical operation.
This is more prevalent in men than women and most of the times hereditary. One is said to be colour-blind if they can’t tell the difference between colours, especially red and green while in severe cases they can only see shades of grey. There is no cure, but you get assisted with special contacts and glasses.
One is said to have a corneal disease if the dome-shaped part of their eye, charged with focusing light is infected, injured or exposed to toxins. Signs include redness, tearing, and pain. It can be corrected through eyeglasses and eye drops and in severe cases, surgery.
Also referred to as walleye or Strabismus, this refers to a disorder in which your eyes don’t align with each other. Most ophthalmologists believe it crops up from weak eye muscles and suggests eye therapy in making them stronger. Your doctor might also recommend surgery.
These are specks that seem to float on the cornea. They are visible when looking at bright images and often harmless. However, should the type or number of spots increase, see a doctor immediately as they may be pointing out to serious eye problems like retinal disintegration.
Glaucoma occurs as a result of pressure build-up within the eye that eventually damages the optic nerve. This pressure may originate from a myriad of factors such as eye injury to blocked blood vessels as well as other common diseases like inflammation. If detected early, glaucoma can be prevented through eye drops or surgery.
Also known as Amblyopia, it is most common with infants and children and results from the poor development of one eye. It can also refer to weak vision in one eye and can be corrected using glasses, contacts, or patches that stimulate the weak eye to action thus strengthening its muscles.
You have low vision if you can’t see clearly when using ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses. Low vision can originate from other eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma or eye injuries. It has no cure, but you get assisted with special eyeglasses that reduce light sensitivity while doubling up as magnifiers.
This occurs when the retina, a thin membrane at the back of the eye, separates itself from nerve tissue thus limiting support and blood supply. This detachment forms the most common cause of blindness but can be treated if detected and diagnosed early. Signs of detachment include flashes at the edges of the eyes and increased spots.
What to look for when selecting an eye hospital in India?
Your eyesight forms one of the most precious aspects of your existence, and you should, therefore, only entrust it with the best eye doctor and facility. But how can you tell whether a hospital is right for you or not:
Check up on the doctor’s experience
You can obtain such information from the hospital website or the doctor’s online profile on professional networks. You can also request this information directly from the hospital, even if on a read-only basis. Most experienced doctors don’t have a problem sharing their expertise with a potential client. Pay close attention to his qualifications as well as experience and success not just as an ophthalmologist but in treating your specific condition.
Consider the hospital facilities
India may have gradually carved a niche in the global healthcare, but the level of investment by different hospitals across the country isn’t standardised. When looking for a good eye hospital, especially when it comes to surgical operations, consider hospitals that have invested in quality equipment as this boosts the accuracy in detection of illness as well as efficiency during the surgery.
Is the procedure available?
Sometimes, an eye hospital will promise to correct your condition after diagnosis, even though they don’t have the kind of equipment or human resources necessary for the process. In such a case, inquire when the doctor can be ready for the operation and if they have all the equipment and experience needed to perform the procedure. Any talk of non-working machines and need to bring you to another hospital or calling in a specialist should raise suspicions.
How much do they charge for your condition?
While you shouldn’t expect cheap charges from a decorated ophthalmologist in a state of the art eye hospital, you shouldn’t agree to exorbitant costs. Ask around in different Indian hospitals about the average charges for your condition and use the figures to bargain for the costs with your preferred surgeon and facility.
How friendly and supportive is the hospital staffs? Note that during and after the operation, you will need all the help and personalized care any hospital can offer. The attention accorded by the hospital staff should take priority when making your ultimate decision about your Indian eye hospital of choice.