An eye expert urged the public to go for eye check-ups to avoid vision impairment and blindness.
The importance of eye health care was stressed by Dr. Maria Victoria Rondaris, Philippine country manager of the Fred Hollows Foundation, which is an international eye health organization—– in time for the observance of World Sight Day this month.
“It’s been almost two years since our country went into lockdown, and, unfortunately, a lot of things could happen during this span of time when it comes to eyesight,” said Rondaris in a statement.
“As an ophthalmologist, I have met many people who wouldn’t have been blind, if they only had their eyes checked early on,” she added.
Rondaris said that “nine out of 10 people, who are blind or vision-impaired actually didn’t need to be afflicted with the impairment.”
“Blindness is mostly preventable, and vision can be restored with treatments like cataract surgery,” she said.
Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rondaris noted that eye screening as well as free eye surgeries have to be postponed.
Rondaris said that since the pandemic started, “millions of people have been missing appointments with their eye doctor.”
“In an environment when many have had to resort to putting so much strain on their eyes because of the need to rely on computers during the lockdowns, a lot of things could happen during this span of time when it comes to eyesight,” she said.
“There is often a short window of time to detect, prevent, or treat eye diseases,” she added.
With the improving state of the country’s COVID-19 situation, Rondaris expressed hope that the public will have their eyes checked.
“But now that we’re reaching vaccination targets, and easing restrictions, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
“The message is clear. As soon as you’re able to, don’t forget to visit an eye doctor. The last thing we want when the pandemic ends is to lose our vision,” she added.