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A 3-minute morning exposure once a week to deep red light can improve declining vision as per a new study conducted by University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology researchers.
The study reported in Scientific Reports, reveals that the UCL researchers found that participants had a 17% improvement in colour contrast vision on average and that the effects of the exposure to 670 nanometre deep red light lasted for at least a week.
“This simple intervention applied at the population level would significantly impact on quality of life as people age and would likely result in reduced social costs that arise from problems associated with reduced vision,” said lead author, Professor Glen Jeffery, of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, who believes that such exposure has the potential to “significantly improve declining vision.”
The researchers further shared that although they had noted positive effects for individuals following the exposure to deep red light, the magnitude of improvements could be different between those of similar ages.
They concluded that more research involving a larger sample size is required to full explore the probable effects of other variables on vision improvement.
The growing need to use digital devices for online education among students has led to the increasing prevalence of refractive error among school and college students, as per a survey conducted by New Panvel-based R J Sankara Eye Hospital. Refractive errors lead to blurry vision and sometimes headaches and can also lead to digital eye strain (DES).
The doctors at the hospital shared that out of the 247 students screened in the hospital’s OPD (outdoor patient department), 79 students were detected with refractive error, which was 32 percent as against the normal trend of 10-15 percent.
As per another study recently published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, out of the 217 students who participated in the survey, 109 students were found to be suffering from DES of which 26 percent were mild cases, 13 percent were moderate and 11 percent were of severe grade with most common symptoms being itching and headaches.
The average time spent using electronic devices has increased to 5 hours a day for 36 percent of students due to online teaching or e-learning introduced during the pandemic after schools were shut. This has significantly increased the risk of DES, said Dr Ankita, Paediatric Ophthalmologist at RJ Sankara Eye Hospital.
If detected early, vision therapy can help in preventing progression of symptoms of digital eye strain. “Vision therapy includes a series of in-office and home-based exercises administered over a period of weeks or months with the help of special glasses, filters, prisms and computer assisted vision programmes that improve eye focusing, coordination and tracking,” said Dr Ankita.
India Vision Institute (IVI), the NGO working to provide access to eye care services to the underprivileged across India, organised a free vision and diabetic screening in Chennai on 14 November, 2021, to commemorate World Diabetes Day. The screening held at St. Peter’s Church, Royapuram, included refractive error correction and Diabetic Retinopathy screening.
IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel said, “Diabetes is assuming alarming proportions in India and there is need to raise awareness
about the effect of the disease particularly on eye health.”
“The damage that diabetes can do to people’s health, including the risk it poses by way of a range of conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, which is a cause for blindness, needs to be conveyed to the public through education and awareness campaigns,” Mr Daniel noted.
To mark World Diabetes Day, IVI also organised an online awareness talk by Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Department of Vitroretinal Services, Sankara Nethralaya.
“We hope today’s generation will work towards avoiding diabetes and in the process also not get secondary diseases,” Mr Daniel added.
Since its inception, in addition to providing access to vision screening and a pair of free corrective glasses to people in need, IVI has worked in activities to raise awareness about diabetic retinopathy (DR), online panel discussions, capacity building workshops and short-term fellowship programs for optometrists in association with LV Prasad Eye Institute to equip trainees with the required skill sets in screening and management of DR.
Udhayanidhi Stalin, MLA from Chepauk, recently launched an India Vision Institute (IVI) Mobile Eye Clinic at Lock Nagar, Chennai. Australia’s Consul-General, Sarah Kirlew, Dayanidhi Maran MP, and IVI’s CEO Vinod Daniel were present at the launch event.
According to Daniel, the mobile van will increase IVI’s reach to the underprivileged community, including the elderly and women by providing them access to vision screening. It will also help in diagnosing other ocular health conditions.
“Fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the van will help us provide comprehensive eye screening services to the underprivileged in Chennai. In the first 12 months, we will cover five Urban Primary Health Centres (UPHCs) in Tiruvottiyur zone and four UPHCs in Sholinganallur zone. In addition, we will reach underprivileged people in Lock Nagar, Pumping Station, Cox Colony, Palavakkam, Chinna Neelankarai, Karapakkam, Perumbakkam, Srinivasapuram and Avadi,” he noted.
‘IVI has been a close partner with us in several projects and I am happy to be here today at the launch of their new initiative. We wish them all the best,’ said Ms Kirlew.
IVI hopes to reach over 8,000 people in the next six months, create eye health awareness and ensure that no one becomes blind due to unavailability of treatment for eye conditions such as Refractive Errors (RE), Cataract, and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).
The initiative is supported by Sightsavers, SBI Capital and the State Blindness Control Society.
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