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Vision Problems Strike More Than 2 Billion Globally

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer vision problems that range from impairment to blindness, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

And at least 1 billion of those people have problems such as short- and far-sightedness, glaucoma and cataracts — all of which could have been prevented or have not been treated.

Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a news release from the organization.

“People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship. Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage,” he said.

Aging populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care — particularly in low- and middle-income countries — are among the main reasons for increasing numbers of people with vision problems, according to the report released Tuesday in advance of World Sight Day on Oct. 10.

“It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses,” he added.

Eye conditions and vision impairment tend to be much more common among people in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, according to the WHO’s first report on vision worldwide.

Untreated distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is about four times higher than in high-income regions, and $ 14.3 billion (U.S. dollars) is needed to treat the 1 billion people with vision impairment or blindness due to cataracts, and short- and far-sightedness, the report said.

According to Alarcos Cieza, who leads WHO’s efforts on blindness and deafness prevention, disability and rehabilitation, “Millions of people have severe vision impairment and are not able to participate in society to their fullest because they can’t access rehabilitation services. In a world built on the ability to see, eye care services, including rehabilitation, must be provided closer to communities for people to achieve their maximum potential.”

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Sources

SOURCE: World Health Organization, news release, Oct. 8, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Vision Problems Strike More Than 2 Billion Globally

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 — More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer vision problems that range from impairment to blindness, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

And at least 1 billion of those people have problems such as short- and far-sightedness, glaucoma and cataracts — all of which could have been prevented or have not been treated.

Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a news release from the organization.

“People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship. Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage,” he said.

Aging populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care — particularly in low- and middle-income countries — are among the main reasons for increasing numbers of people with vision problems, according to the report released Tuesday in advance of World Sight Day on Oct. 10.

“It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses,” he added.

Eye conditions and vision impairment tend to be much more common among people in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, according to the WHO’s first report on vision worldwide.

Untreated distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is about four times higher than in high-income regions, and $ 14.3 billion (U.S. dollars) is needed to treat the 1 billion people with vision impairment or blindness due to cataracts, and short- and far-sightedness, the report said.

According to Alarcos Cieza, who leads WHO’s efforts on blindness and deafness prevention, disability and rehabilitation, “Millions of people have severe vision impairment and are not able to participate in society to their fullest because they can’t access rehabilitation services. In a world built on the ability to see, eye care services, including rehabilitation, must be provided closer to communities for people to achieve their maximum potential.”

More information

The WHO has more on blindness and vision impairment.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Study: Heavy Smoking May Damage Vision

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If life looks gray and cloudy when you smoke, you might not be imagining it.

Heavy smoking may actually damage color and contrast vision, researchers report.

They looked at 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 people who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day. The participants were aged 25 to 45 and had normal or corrected-to-normal vision.

But the heavy smokers showed significant changes in their red-green and blue-yellow color vision and also had greater difficulty discriminating contrasts and colors than nonsmokers.

“Our results indicate that excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction,” said co-author Steven Silverstein, director of research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful to health, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as… the area of the brain that processes vision,” he added in a university news release.

And, he noted, “Previous studies have pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation.”

Nicotine and smoking harm the body’s circulatory system, and these findings indicate they also damage blood vessels and neurons in the retina, according to Silverstein.

He said the results also suggest that research into vision problems in other groups of people, such as those with schizophrenia who often smoke heavily, should take into account their smoking rate.

About 34 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 16 million have a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system.

The study was published recently in the journal Psychiatry Research.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, Feb. 17, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

A Hard Look at Smoking’s Effect on Vision