What is blindness?
Blindness is defined as the state of being sightless. A blind individual is unable to see. In a strict sense the word “blindness” denotes the inability of a person to distinguish darkness from bright light in either eye. The terms blind and blindness have been modified in our society to include a wide range of visual impairment. Blindness is frequently used today to describe severe visual decline in one or both eyes with maintenance of some residual vision.
Vision impairment, or low vision, means that even with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, someone doesn’t see well. Vision impairment can range from mild to severe. Worldwide, between 300 million-400 million people are visually impaired due to various causes. Of this group, approximately 50 million people are totally blind. Approximately 80% of blindness occurs in people over 50 years of age.
What are the different types of blindness?
Color blindness is the inability to perceive differences in various shades of colors, particularly green and red, that others can distinguish. It is most often inherited (genetic) and affects about 8% of males and under 1% of women. People who are color blind usually have normal vision otherwise and can function well visually. This is actually not true blindness.
Night blindness is a difficulty in seeing under situations of decreased illumination. It can be genetic or acquired. The majority of people who have night vision difficulties function well under normal lighting conditions; this is not a state of sightlessness. People often say, “I am ‘blind as a bat’ without my glasses.” All bat species have eyes, and most have excellent vision at night but not in daylight. More importantly, the term blindness means the inability to see despite wearing glasses. Anyone who has access to glasses and sees well with the glasses cannot be termed blind.
1. Eye Allergies
Eye allergies occur as our body natural response to certain medications or substances. They are quite common, affecting a large number of population.
The body’s immune system reacts when our body comes in contact with allergens from outside. These allergens can be anything like pollen, ragweed, grass, mould, weeds, dust, and pet dander. As defence, it produces a chemical called histamine. Histamine attaches to the eye tissues and cause them to enlarge or dilate.
Common signs and symptoms are:
- Excess tearing
- Eye Itching
- Sinus activity
Treatment for Eye Allergies
Eye allergies can be treated with numerous non-prescription drugs that include cold compresses or topical treatments. Your doctor will determine the best treatment option for you. However, prevention from the allergens is very important. Stay indoors or wear sunglasses when out, to prevent your eyes from coming in contact with allergy causing pathogens.
2. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
As the name suggests, it refers to the strain afflicted on eyes when you use a computer for long periods of time. Not just the number of hours you spend in front of digital technology, but a lot of other factors contribute in causing CVS. Lighting of the room, distance from the screen, glare on the screen, seating posture, and the angle of your head determine if CVS can affect you. Everyone spending hours in front of computers experience at least one the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
3. Dry Eye
Dry eye refers to the inability of your eye to produce normal tears. Most people visit an eye care professionals for this problem.
4. Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
The inflammation of the transparent membrane (conjuntiva) lining the eyelids and eye is known as conjunctivitis. It is commonly called pink eye when certain type of bacteria cause this inflammation. Pink eye is generally a common condition which is usually minor but it can prove to be highly contagious when caused by an infection.
What specialists treat blindness?
Ophthalmology is the specialty of medicine that deals with diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye disease. Therefore, ophthalmologists are the specialists who have the knowledge and tools to diagnose the cause of blindness and to provide treatment, if possible.
What is the prognosis for blindness?
The prognosis for blindness is dependent on its cause. In patients with blindness due to optic-nerve damage or a completed stroke, visual acuity can usually not be restored. Patients with long-standing retinal detachment in general cannot be improved with surgical repair of their detachment. Patients who have corneal scarring or cataract usually have a good prognosis if they are able to access surgical care of their condition.
The following are common signs and symptoms of astigmatism:
- blurred or distorted vision at all distances
- excessive squinting
- eye strain, especially when the eye has to focus for long periods, as in reading from paper or a computer monitor
- difficulty driving at night
A person with these symptoms may not have astigmatism, but it is a good idea to have an eye test to check.