August Is Sight-Saving Month; Doctors Say Cataracts Leading Cause of Blindness among Elderly

Manila Bulletin, August 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

August Is Sight-Saving Month; Doctors Say Cataracts Leading Cause of Blindness among Elderly


Byline: CHRISTINA I. HERMOSO

August has been declared as Sight-Saving month to highlight the importance of caring for ones eyes as well as to seek treatment for illnesses that affect the eyes.

Of the many illnesses that can affect the eyes, medical experts are now giving more focus on cataracts, said to be part of the aging process which can largely affect the eyesight and may subsequently lead to blindness, if left untreated.

A survey conducted by the Institute of Ophthalmology of the University of the Philippines for the Department of Health (DoH) showed that cataract is now the leading cause of bilateral blindness which affects nearly 500,000 individuals in the country today.

Cataract was found to be prevalent in almost 400,000 people compared to glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness. The study added that bilateral blindness is more common among people 50 years old and above.

There are some who may live through life with a cataract without surgery or treatment.

An American Medical Journal report said some cataracts develop slowly, taking a long 20 to 30 years to reach a stage where it starts to hinder vision.

Surgery for cataract removal is about 95 percent successful, doctors said. The procedure is simple, almost painless and safe even for the very old (80s and up) as long as the patient is in good health. …

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