This week we wish to highlight the wonderful work done by the international charity Sightsavers.
Sightsavers works across the World to help prevent avoidable blindness and also to promote equality for those that have suffered from blindness.
We all take our sight for granted and if you are like most people you just cannot imagine what it would be like to lose your sense of vision. Of all the senses sight is the one that people least want to lose. Coping without taste or smell would be bearable, deafness is more difficult socially, however loss of sight is most difficult to cope with.
Independence is often lost for many people when their sight is lost. Many blind people remain housebound for their entire lives.
Type 2 Diabetes and Sight
The fastest growing cause of blindness is due to the increasing rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Few people who allow themselves to become severely overweight consider the long term health risks associated with increased body fat.
Type 2 Diabetes is directly related to diet and activity levels and one of the result is a loss of sight.
“Diabetic retinopathy is a well recognised complication of diabetes mellitus.” www.sightsavers.org
Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80% of people who have had diabetes for over 10 years (Kertes and Johnson, 2007).
It is thought that around 45% people suffering from diabetes already have started to develop diabetic retinopathy.
However, with regular eye tests around 90% of these cases can be treated and blindness can be prevented.
As type 2 diabetes continues to affect more people as a result of the ongoing obesity crisis this charity is providing an excellent service to help save the sight of thousands of people across the globe.
Other Causes of Blindness
Other typical causes of blindess that Sightsavers treat include:
- Cateracts – the clouding of the lens
- River Blindness – caused by a worm that is common in Western Africa. Medical treatment is available.
- Trachoma – linked to poor sanitation and severe lack of hygiene.
- Glaucoma – the 3rd biggest cause of blindness in the world.
Sightsavers also help people with poor vision to improve mobility and independence.
The Work of Sightsavers
Sightsavers work on many levels. They provide health workers to examine and treat people to prevent problems before they develop. They work with the blind by teaching skills to help to increase independence.
They work in the community to help educate children about the issues surrounding blindness and also to teach them how to avoid it with good hygiene and health. Much of their work is in building community partnerships that are both practical and sustainable.
How You Can Help
There are many ways that you can help, Sight Savers organise fundraising events and provide many resources on their website.
Sightsavers Website: Sightsavers.org
Other sight / blindness charities and organizations include:
- www.rnib.org.uk – Royal National Institute of Blind People
- www.guidedogs.org.uk – Guide Dogs for the Blind
- www.worldblindunion.org – WBU brings together major national and international organizations of blind persons and those providing services to them.
Kertes PJ, Johnson TM, ed (2007). “Evidence Based Eye Care”. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-6964-7