Tag Archives: blindness

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.

Considering disability in Weekend Words

 

John 9:1-5, Contemporary English Version 

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth

Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”

“No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him. 

As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work. 

While I am in the world, I am the light for the world.”

LIsten to or read Dr. John Piper’s thoughts on how we should respond to those with disabilities.

Don’t Look Away from Disability | Desiring God

Dr. Piper has written over 50 books, which you can review at this link –

Dr. John Piper books  (an affiliate link)

 

Also featuring Dr. Piper

Fifteen Tactics for Joy – Devotional by John Piper | Solid Joys

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Weekend Words in song- “The Prayer”

 

 

 

Andrea Bocelli

The first time I watched a video of Andrea Bocelli singing, I wondered why his eyes were closed. I did not know that he is blind due to a head  injury at 12 years of age.

He showed passion and talent for music from childhood,  performed and competed as a teenager, and sang  to earn money while attending law school.

Fortunately for music lovers, he abandoned his law career for singing both pop and classical music which is appreciated by his multitude of fans.

 

Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s musical career has been equally successful, but she also weathered medical challenges. After failing to get pregnant  for several years, she used IVF (in vitro fertilization)  to conceive her first son, and again a few years later twin boys.

Her husband, Rene Angelil, died early this year due to cancer.

I appreciate their commitment to their craft and perseverance in sharing it despite difficult circumstances. We benefit from their example as well as their magnificent talent.

 

The Prayer

 is a popular song written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Testa and Tony Renis. The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song from the 1998 film Quest for Camelot. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2000. (source Wikipedia)

 

 

Weekend words is a regular feature of watercress words. At the end of the work week we take a break from exploring strictly medical topics to read words of faith, hope and love from the Bible and other carefully selected sources.

Disclosure:

This blog gains no financial benefit from this or any charitable organization mentioned here. I recommend you investigate before donating anywhere. Affiliate links will be identified.

6 steps to save your sight

Thinking about prevention in health care, we tend to focus on the worst diseases, those that threaten life- cancer, heart attacks, stroke, violence. But non-fatal conditions can also “threaten life”, putting the quality of our lives in danger.

Limited vision contributes to severe and significant loss of function and well being.

If you include people whose vision problems can be corrected with glasses or contacts, it may be the most common disability in the world. But even excluding those people, vision loss still affects millions of people in the world.

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diagram of the eye

Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)

(This post includes several affiliate  and non-affiliate links for your reference and to support this blog. )

Here are some key facts about vision loss from

WHO (World Health Organization)

  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide
  • 39 million people  are blind and 246 million  have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.
  • 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment.
  • Cataracts cause most  blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has decreased in the last 20 years .
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

Braille system: A system of raised-dot writing devised by Louis Braille (1809-1852) for the blind in which each letter is represented as a raised pattern that can be read by touching with the fingers.

Braille system: A system of raised-dot writing devised by Louis Braille (1809-1852) for the blind in which each letter is represented as a raised pattern that can be read by touching with the fingers.

A refractive error is a very common eye disorder. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world, causing blurred vision.

The four most common refractive errors are:

  1. myopia (nearsightedness): difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly;
  2. hyperopia (farsightedness): difficulty in seeing close objects clearly;
  3. astigmatism: distorted vision resulting from an irregularly curved cornea, the clear covering of the eyeball.
  4. presbyopia: which leads to difficulty in reading or seeing at arm’s length, it is linked to ageing and occurs almost universally.

Refractive errors are commonly corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or refractive surgery.

Glasses or contact lenses for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism need to be made with a prescription based on the results of an eye exam by a professional.

Glasses for presbyopia, commonly called reading glasses, can be purchased online or in many retail stores and get be fitted by trying on different strengths until you find one that works the best. Most people use them for close work like reading, sewing, crafts, drawing, and games.

I use contacts  to correct my vision impairments-myopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. One eye is corrected for distance and the other corrected for near . I can read, drive, watch television, dance, take care of my home and work without difficulty.

My husband fights to protect his vision. He had severe myopia which was partially corrected with surgery. He subsequently developed early onset macular degeneration, a condition which destroys the retina of the eye causing loss of central vision. Progression of the degeneration is slowed with regular injections of a drug originally developed to treat cancers. (If a shot into the eye sounds painful, it is.) He has  had removal of cataracts. So far he is able to function visually, but he appreciates his sight and does whatever he can  to preserve it.

The New York Times reviewed the latest treatments for macular degeneration 

Globally, the causes of blindness are

  • cataract (47.9%) the leading cause of visual impairment in all areas of the world, except for developed countries.
  • glaucoma (12.3%),
  • age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (8.7%),
  • corneal opacities (5.1%),
  • diabetic retinopathy (4.8%),
  • childhood blindness (3.9%),
  • trachoma (3.6%)
  • onchocerciasis (0.8%).

Visual impairment and blindness can be prevented.

Preventing some of these conditions such as trachoma and onchocerciasis, infections that target the eye and occur in the developing world, need public health measures to control.

basic supplies for eye exams in a developing country

Eye doctors on a volunteer medical team used these supplies to do eye exams  in a remote area.

You can protect and save your sight with these steps-

(The following sections contain several affiliate links; using these links costs you nothing extra and helps support this blog. thank you. )

  1. Have an eye professional examine your eyes.

An eye doctor, either an optometrist or ophthalmologist, can detect early signs of eye disease, even before you notice a problem. Go here for an explanation of what each of these professionals do .

6 steps to save your sight -watercresswords.com

  1. Avoid smoking cigarettes.

Smoking constricts the blood vessels supplying the eye with oxygen rich blood, thereby suffocating the tissue. This contributes to cataracts and macular degeneration.

2015-08-07 14.55.59

Here are some other other surprising reasons to avoid smoking

  1. Protect your eyes from sunlight.

Sun exposure also contributes to cataracts so wearing UV protective sunglasses is recommended.

  1. Eat a healthy diet, high in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.

Macular degeneration has been associated with low intake of vitamins A, C, and E, omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zinc. The best source for this is food.  For people who already have macular degeneration or who are at high risk, eye doctors may recommend a vitamin supplement which provides these nutrients.

  1. Manage chronic health conditions.

Diabetes contributes to blindness by damaging the retina. Good control of blood sugar helps to prevent or slow this, as well as regular monitoring and laser treatment when needed.

Vision loss is one of the most common complications from diabetes and one that can be prevented or minimized. If you have diabetes, take it seriously and work with your doctor to manage it well.

You may have diabetes and not know it. Certain symptoms may indicate diabetes; read about them here.

If you have not been tested for diabetes, ask your doctor if you should. It’s a simple blood test called Hemoglobin A1c and  is available at this affiliate link . (This link will pay a commission to this blog).

Other chronic conditions associated with vision loss are heart disease and stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, sickle cell disease, and multiple sclerosis.

  1. Protect your eyes from trauma.

In addition to wearing sunglasses when outdoors, appropriate protective lenses should be worn during sports. People who work at jobs involving power tools or chemicals need protective goggles in case of splashes or flying bits of material. Children, adolescents and young adults are most likely to lose vision from traumatic injuries.

  1. Know and observe the rules for contact lens use.

    This is a bonus tip for those of you like me who need contact lenses to correct their vision.

I know how tempting it can be to cut corners when cleaning, storing, discarding and wearing contacts. But when used incorrectly, contacts can cause more problems than they solve. Contact lens wear can cause trauma, infections and dryness that can damage the cornea. Don’t risk turning correctable vision problems into long term harm. Get the details on caring for contacts here.

 

 

 

The Story of My Life is an autobiography of Helen Keller, a woman who was both blind and deaf since infancy. Her remarkable story was also told in a movie.

The Miracle Worker  for which Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke as Helen won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress

Children may enjoy reading I Am Helen Keller

For you who may be needing reading glasses now (an affiliate link)


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Dr. Aletha  , sharing the HEART of health