World Sight Day: Give Hope to Your Vision
By Ore Taiwo Makinde.
Happy World Sight Day!
I had the privilege of rendering assistance to a blind man yesterday. I helped him access healthcare and got a Bolt rider to drive him home. I wanted to pay the driver straight up but my blind friend insisted that he would pay himself.
I later received a call from him the selfsame day. He was so happy that the health concern he had carried around for a number of years was resolved in a few minutes with just a simple procedure. He thanked me profusely, praying, “You will never lose your sight”.
He also said that the driver, Vincent, dropped him at his doorstep but refused to collect a dime from him. He called him a great guy and kept praying for him. I also pray for you, Vincent, ‘Wherever you are, may you never lose your sight’.
Heartwarming story but are our prayers for healthy vision enough? I will leave you to answer that question yourself. However, talking about World Sight Day, the theme for 2020 is ‘HOPE IN SIGHT’. If you want to prevent vision loss especially in the latter years of one’s life, please note that your lifestyle choices also play a significant role.
Reliable scientific data tells us 2.2 billion people around the world have visual impairment and that up to 146 million people suffer visual impairment, i.e difficulty seeing as a result of diabetic retinopathy. The retina, usually referred to as the back of the eye is important in our vision. Type 2 diabetes is one of the lifestyle-related diseases that can lead to damage of the retina.
How then does one prevent the damage to the retina that could creep in from type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases?
- Eat a healthy diet, with less of processed foods and more of plants and whole food.
- Move more by exercising regularly for at least 150 minutes in a week.
- Avoid becoming overweight or obese.
- Reduce alcohol intake or avoid it completely.
- Stop smoking. You may need medical treatment to enable you to quit.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels and ensure it is well-controlled.
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly and check in with your physician to be sure it is within normal range. Hypertension and diabetes are ‘cousins’. You are likely to develop hypertension if your diabetes is not well controlled.
- Check your cholesterol levels as high levels can contribute to damage of your retina.
- Lastly, ensure you go for an eye examination annually. This will help your eye doctor to ascertain and monitor the state of your retina. Ensure you adhere to the medication you are given.
In conclusion, our daily lifestyle choices impact our health-related quality of life especially the future of our vision. To give hope to your sight, start by making necessary lifestyle changes today! Prayers are important but our obedience is key.