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FACT FILES

STUNNING FACTS OF EYE DONATION IN INDIA

  • There are 12 million+ blind people in India, out of which about 4 million+ are corneal blind. There is a huge backlog of the number of corneal blind people waiting to get their sight.
  • As of today, Eye collection figures stand at around 20000+ eyes per year, from around 400+ eye banks across India. This number itself is not sufficient for the freshly added corneal blind.
  • One startling fact of this is we still import eyes from Sri Lanka, which is 1/4th or even less in size than India. Sri Lanka, besides catering to its own requirement, sends the eyeballs to several other countries. Over the last quarter of the century, it has flown over 20,000+ eyeballs to 135 centres in the various countries of the world.

The Buddhist supreme concept of "Dana", or almsgiving, is the root of their success. They believe that it is an act of great merit to gift their eyes after death to someone living who would have the gift of sight. In Buddhist thought, it has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind of the giver.


INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT EYES

  • The shark cornea has been used in eye surgery, since its cornea is similar to a human cornea.
  • The shark cornea has been used in eye surgery, since its cornea is similar to a human cornea.
  • The eyeball of a human weighs approximately 28 grams.
  • The eye of a human can distinguish 500 shades of the grey.
  • The cornea is the only living tissue in the human body that does not contain any blood vessels.
  • Research has indicated that a tie that is too tight can increase the risk of glaucoma in men.
  • People generally read 25% slower from a computer screen compared to paper.
  • All babies are colour blind when they are born.
  • Babies' eyes do not produce tears until the baby is approximately six to eight weeks old.
  • The reason why your nose gets runny when you are crying is because the tears from the eyes drain into the nose.
  • The most common injury caused by cosmetics to the eyes, is by a mascara wand.
  • Some people start to sneeze if they are exposed to sunlight or have a light shined into their eye.
  • It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  • The space between your eyebrows is called the Glabella.

EYE STRAIN

Strain in the eyes is caused by wrong use. While reading or doing office work, eyes should be kept at a reasonable distance and the upper eyelids should be lower. The eyes should move slowly with the reading or writing material. If some strain is felt in the eyes, these should be closed for a few seconds and use them gently again.

Strain is caused by:

  • Dimlight
  • Mental Strain
  • Lack of proper blood circulation in the eyes
  • Lack of control over thoughts.

Eye Exercises : While taking morning or evening stroll, eyes should be refreshed by seeing green, blue sky or flying bird's, etc. Stretch eyes gently as far as possible. The blinking of eyes should be done regularly. Blinking is a very good exercise for the eyes. While seeing a distant object or reading a board, gentle blinking helps in seeing clearly and removes the strain. Blinking should be done during the day or night to loosen the strain and for better eyesight. Swinging of head and rhythmic movement of the body also has soothing effect on the eyes. While reading or working in the dim light, the eyes should not be strained.

Eyes should be washed by sprinkling cold water early in the morning and evening. After washing with cold water, the eye should be gently dried by a clean towel. Then the eyes should be closed for a few minutes for relaxation. This exercise may be repeated in the evening also after returning from work. In order to give more relaxation to the eyes, they may be covered by both palms gently. This exercise should be done for five minutes daily.

After food, the eyes may be gently rubbed with wet hands while cleaning the mouth.

While closing eyes, good thoughts should prevail. Imagine some line from the book and think that the words are getting clearer and darker. This improves the eyesight.

Viewing Movie/Pictures or TV : The eyelids should be kept downward and frequent blinking should be done while viewing pictures or TV programmes. Eyestrain should be avoided.

Avoid reading books of fine prints in moving vehicles : Posture of the body should be kept erect and comfortable.

Protect the eyes from smoke or bright sun or artificial light. Avoid seeing a very bright object or solar eclipse, etc.

Moon-Light : The moonlight has cooling effect on the eyes. Moon may be seen for a few minutes to relax the eyes.

Oiling of Ears : A drop or two of Mustard (Sarson) oil in each ear periodically at Bedtime is beneficial both for the ear and the eyes.

Eye Drops : In Ayurvedic system 2 or 3 drops of Tulsi leaves juice in the eyes weekly is recommended. Fresh water is also used for washing the eyes in the morning. If necessary, some good eye-drops may be used on the recommendation of the Eye-Specialist.

Sun-Bath and Barefoot Walk on Grass : Morning rays of the sun are cool and good for the eyes. Stand for five minutes in the gentle morning rays of the sun and swing the head to and fro. After this, wash the eyes with cold water.

Eye Diseases : If there is strain or trouble in the eyes due to spectacles or eye lenses, the Eye-Specialist should be consulted. In case of eye trouble,wash with boric acid solution. This is useful. But in any an Eye-Specialist should be consulted.

Good Food for Eyes : Good food containing vitamin is very essential to maintain good eye sight. Eyes need food containing vitamins. The food articles containing vitamins should be a part of diet. Rich source of vitamin-A is spinach, carrot, watermelon, mango, plums and fish. This vitamin is essential for eye health. Vegetables, leafy vegetables, and fruit and their juice also give the necessary vitamin and minerals required for the eyes and body. Wheat grass juice is also a good source of vitamins.


ACCORDING TO WHO ESTIMATES

  • About 284 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 245 million have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world visually impaired live in developing countries.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment but in middle and low-income countries cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has greatly reduced in the last 20 years.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured.
The causes of visual impairment

Globally the major causes of visual impairment are:

  • Uncorrected refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism), 43%
  • Cataract, 33%
  • Glaucoma, 2%

EYE DISEASES

People over the age of 60 are at higher risk of three eye diseases:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration.
  • CATARACTS
    What is a Cataract?

    Inside the eye, there is a lens which helps us to focus on what we see. As a part of the normal aging process, the lens can slowly become cloudy. This cloudiness of the lens is called a cataract. In some people, the cloudiness can become severe enough that it decreases vision. In other words, the cataract has become visually significant.

    Who gets Cataracts?

    Most people who develop cataracts are older than age 60. The cataract forms as part of the normal aging process. Two conditions which may cause the development of cataract earlier than age 60 are diabetes and injury to the eye. Certain medications such as steroids may also cause cataract formation.

    Symptoms

    People who have cataracts often notice a decrease in their vision. For example, they may have difficulty reading or driving. Another common problem is glare. Because of glare, people with cataracts may find it harder to see when there are bright lights on, such as when looking at the oncoming headlights of a car. An eye physician can tell if you have a cataract by examining your eyes.

    Treatment

    People often think that cataracts can be removed with a laser. This is not true. Cataracts cannot be removed with a laser. In addition, there is no medicine one can take to treat a cataract. Cataracts are treated by microscopic surgery. In cataract micro-surgery, a tiny incision is made in the eye and the cloudy lens is removed through this opening. A clear, plastic lens is then put in the eye to REPLACE the cloudy lens. Following cataract surgery, most people will experience substantial improvement in their vision.

  • GLAUCOMA

    Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, leading to vision loss--or even blindness. At the front of the eye, there is a small space called the anterior chamber. Clear fluid flows in and out of the chamber to bathe and nourish nearby tissues. In glaucoma, for still unknown reasons, the fluid drains too slowly out of the eye. As the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye rises. Unless this pressure is controlled, it may cause damage to the optic nerve and other parts of the eye and loss of vision.

    Nearly 3 million people have glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people are at higher risk.

    They include:

    • Blacks over age 40. Everyone over age 60.
    • People with a family history of glaucoma.

    At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and blindness results. Many people may know of the "air puff" test or other tests used to measure eye pressure in an eye examination. But, this test alone cannot detect glaucoma. Glaucoma is found most often during an eye examination through dilated pupils. This means drops are put into the eyes during the exam to enlarge the pupils. This allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye to check for signs of glaucoma. Although open-angle glaucoma cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled.

    Treatment
    • Medications: These may be either in the form of eye drops or pills. Some drugs are designed to reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye. Others help to improve fluid drainage. For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure. But, these drugs may stop working over time. Or, they may cause side effects. If a problem occurs, the eye care professional may select other drugs, change the dose, or suggest other ways to deal with the problem. Laser surgery: During laser surgery, a strong beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This results in a series of small changes, which makes it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of laser surgery may wear off. Patients who have this form of surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.
    • Surgery: Surgery can also help fluid escape from the eye and thereby reduce the pressure. However, surgery is usually reserved for patients whose pressure cannot be controlled with eye drops, pills, or laser surgery.
  • MACULAR DEGENERATION

    Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. In some people, AMD advances so slowly that it will have little effect on their vision as they age. But in others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes.The retina is a paper-thin tissue that lines the back of the eye and sends visual signals to the brain. In the middle of the retina is a tiny area called the macula.

    The macular is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that help to produce central vision. AMD occurs in two forms:

    • Dry AMD: Ninety percent of all people with AMD have this type. Scientists are still not sure what causes dry AMD. Studies suggest that an area of the retina becomes diseased, leading to the slow breakdown of the light-sensing cells in the macula and a gradual loss of central vision.
    • Wet AMD: Although only 10 percent of all people with AMD have this type, it accounts for 90 percent of all blindness from the disease. As dry AMD worsens, new blood vessels may begin to grow and cause "wet" AMD. Because these new blood vessels tend to be very fragile, they will often leak blood and fluid under the macula. This causes rapid damage to the macula that can lead to the loss of central vision in a short period of time.

    The greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups. Other AMD risk factors include:

    • Gender: Women tend to be at greater risk for AMD than men. Race--Whites are much more likely to lose vision from AMD than Blacks. Smoking--Smoking may increase the risk of AMD.
    • Family History: Those with immediate family members who have AMD are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

    Both Dry and Wet AMD cause no pain.

    Symptoms

    The most common early sign of dry AMD is blurred vision. The classic early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines appear crooked. A small blind spot may also appear in wet AMD, resulting in loss of one's central vision.

    Treatment
    • No treatment now exists for Dry AMD.
    • It has been suggested that taking certain extra vitamins and minerals may slow the progress of the disease. But this treatment needs much more research before scientists can know for sure if it's helpful.
    • Eye care professionals can treat some cases of wet AMD with laser surgery.
  • CONJUNCTIVITIS

    Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, occurs when the mucus membrane covering the outer surface of the eyeball gets inflamed. Usually, a viral or bacterial infection is the cause, but allergies, contact lenses, environmental irritants, and defective tear ducts can also trigger the problem. People with pink eye wake up to find their eyes irritated and crusted shut with a sticky discharge. Though pink eye can be uncomfortable and can be highly contagious, it rarely causes any permanent damage. Treatment depends on the type of conjunctivitis contracted. Some types resolve themselves without medical treatment while others require antibiotics. In most cases, a bout of conjunctivitis will run its course within a few weeks.

    Symptoms
    • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid.
    • Increased amount of tears.
    • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep.
    • Green or white discharge from the eye.
    • Itchy eyes.
    • Burning eyes.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Increased sensitivity to light.
  • RECURRENT EROSION SYNDROME
    What is Recurrent Erosion Syndrome(RES)?

    Recurrent erosion syndrome (RES) refers to repeated episodes of superficial spontaneous abrasions leading to eye pain. Erosions are "scratches" on the surface of the cornea, the clear portion of the eye overlying the iris and the pupil. In many cases, the cells of the outer layer of the cornea are loosely attached to the underlying tissue. These cells spontaneously slough leading to recurrent erosions. Most episodes occur without an identifiable precipitant.

    Symptoms

    Patients typically present with attacks of mild to severe eye pain, redness, tearing, and light sensitivity. Some patients may report blurred vision. Most patients report symptoms after awakening FROM sleep. During REM sleep, the eyelids contact the moving cornea leading to abrasions, which present with the symptoms listed above.

  • PTERYGIUM
    What is a Pterygium?

    A pterygium is a wedge-shaped fibrovascular growth of conjunctiva (the surface tissue of the white of the eye) that extends onto the cornea. Pterygia are benign lesions that can be found on either side of the cornea. It is thought that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may contribute to the formation of pterygia. Pterygia are more often seen in people FROM tropical climates, but can be found in others as well.

    Symptoms

    Pterygia are often asymptomatic, and many do not require immediate treatment. However, some pterygia become red and inflammed FROM time to time. Large or thick pterygia may bother some people due to a persistent foreign body sensation in the eye.

  • KERATOCONUS
    What is Keratoconus?

    Keratoconus (KC) is a non-inflammatory condition of the cornea in which there is progressive central thinning of the cornea changing it FROM dome-shaped to cone-shaped. Keratoconus comes FROM the Greek word meaning conical cornea. The cornea is the clear windshield of the eye and is responsible for refracting most of the light coming INTO the eye. Therefore, abnormalities of the cornea can greatly affect the way we see the world.

    Keratoconus is not a blinding disorder, but does result in increasing near-sightedness (things far away are out of focus) and irregular astigmatism (things look tilted) that can significantly distort your vision. It is almost always bilateral (affecting both eyes). It is a slowly progressive disorder, taking years to develop, and may halt at any stage FROM mild to severe.

    Symptoms

    Patients with Keratoconus (KC) initially notice visual blurring and distortion. This may be accompanied by photophobia (light sensitivity) and glare. Patients may note the need for frequent changes in their glasses. In the advanced stages, there may be a precipitous DROP in vision due to clouding of the cornea, referred to a acute corneal hydrops. This condition usually resolves over weeks to months but is often followed by central corneal scarring.

  • IRITIS
    What is Iritis?

    The eye contains a structure called the iris, the color of which determines the color of one’s eyes. The iris consists of a relatively flat surface with a round opening in the middle called the pupil. The iris muscles, by contracting or relaxing, can change the size of the pupil to let more or less light INTO the eyes. When inflammation of the iris develops, this is termed iritis.

    Symptoms

    People who have iritis experience eye pain, sensitivity to light, and/or blurry vision. The eye may be red but without any discharge. The pupil may be small. Symptoms occur most frequently in one eye but can occasionally occur in both eyes. An eye physician (ophthalmologist) can tell if you have iritis by examining your eye.

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