DOH tells Pinoys: Avoid blindness, have your eyes checked
The Department of Health (DOH) has encouraged all Filipinos to have their eyes checked in observance of “Sight Saving Month,” which was aimed at supporting efforts to reduce the prevalence of avoidable blindness.
The DOH spearheads the annual observance this month by virtue of Proclamation No. 40.
This year’s theme, “Universal Eye Health: No More Avoidable Blindness,” was designed to strengthen public awareness on the importance of proper eye care and promote the prevention of avoidable blindness, which is a serious public health issue of global magnitude.
“Avoidable blindness left unaddressed, particularly for those who are blind or have severe visual impairment, results in reduced functional ability and loss of self-esteem and contributes towards the reduction of quality of life,” the DOH said.
“The disability from visual impairment has considerable economic implications with loss of productivity and income and can lead to poverty and social dependency,” it said.
“Early detection and preventive care can help keep our eyes healthy and avoid common causes of blindness,” the DOH said.
According to a 2012 report from the World Health Organization, approximately 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, with 39 million blind and 246 million with low vision.
Globally, cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness followed by glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration as the secondary causes.
In the Philippines, the estimated number of persons who are bilaterally blind is 332,150 of which 33 percent or around 109,609 is due to cataract, 25 percent (83,037) due to errors of refraction (EOR) and 14 percent (46,501) due to glaucoma. The rest are due to other eye conditions like glaucoma, retinopathy and maculopathy.
In addition to this statistics, the current number of persons with bilateral low vision is 2,179,733 of which 43 percent (937,285) is due to EOR, 34 percent (741,109) cataract, and the rest is caused by glaucoma and other eye diseases.
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