According to the World Health Organization, 82 percent of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above. Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment and cataracts remain as the leading cause of blindness in middle-and-low-income countries although about 80 percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.
August, eye saving month
To take action on the awareness and prevention on visual impairment of the Filipinos’, DOH Administrative Order No. 179 s. 2004: Guidelines for the Implementation of the National Prevention of Blindness program, Proclamation No. 40, declared the month of August as “Sight saving month.” Their vision is for all Filipinos to enjoy the right to sight by year 2020.
Eye care for all ages
Dr. Kevin Gabriel Co Tan, an ophthalmologist at Healthway Medical firmly supports this advocacy of right to sight. He shares with us the most common eye diseases that Filipinos encounter from the earliest up to the later stages of one’s lives and how some of these prevalent eye diseases can be prevented once detected and treated earlier.
As early as six months of age, children can be diagnosed of having various errors of refraction and some forms of amblyopia wherein we commonly associate to as “lazy eye” causing impaired vision. “Once detected, it has to be corrected as soon as possible to control eye grade progression. Some causes of error in refraction are also attributed as hereditary, hence the importance of a regular ophthalmologic consult at least every six months is prudent,”says Dr. Tan.
Some may also have excellent vision throughout his younger years but come about 40 years old, one experiences a condition called presbyopia which lessens one’s ability to see things up close. Though it is a natural part of the aging process, an aid of a reading glass will most likely improve near vision. Likewise for older individuals, the most common condition associated with blurred vision is the gradual opacity of the eye’s crystalline lens called cataract. According to Dr. Tan, causes can range from various factors such as the old age, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, prolonged use of steroids, eye trauma, etc.
A person experiencing early onset to a mature cataract may experience cloudy vision and glare most especially at night, sometimes double vision and non improvement of vision even after changing to a new prescription glasses. In this case, a procedure called phacoemulsification with intraocular lens implant would likely be most beneficial to them.
Glaucoma is another common eye disease which is also known as a “silent thief of sight” because it may not manifest much symptoms early on. A person may just wake one day, with blurred peripheral vision and if not acted upon urgently may cause irreversible loss of vision”, says Dr. Tan. Glaucoma occurs when too much fluid builds up inside the eye as in the case of an overproduction or an impairment in the drainage of the aqueous fluid causing eye pressure rise and damage to the optic nerve. Although it may seem daunting, early detection is the key to its management and to prevent its undesirable consequences.
Other eye conditions frequently encountered says Dr. Tan includes hypertensive and diabetic retinopathy, which are caused by uncontrolled hypertension and elevated blood sugar levels. Management of these conditions are usually multidisciplinary but most importantly involving the patient with their lifestyle change and focusing on their overall wellness.
What Healthway has to offer
For earlier prevention and in addressing the following such eyes diseases, Healthway has the following procedures to offer: Automated Refraction, Slitlamp Examination, Tonometry, Indirect Ophthalmoscopy, Cataract surgery, and some minor eye procedures, etc.
By the end of the interview, Dr. Tan points out his passion for treating and educating his patients. “When you regain their sight, it’s like giving back their lives once again. Above all, in being an instrument of God’s good works we should morally do what is best for each person’s care, compassionate to their needs, to be an able listener and to be an educator. With these traits, a physician can then be truly effective in empowering one in his/her own health.” That is how we live up to Healthway Medical’s promise of Your health, treated with care.
About Healthway Medical
As the most trusted and preferred network of mall-based clinics in the Philippines, Healthway Medical has revolutionized the way healthcare is being provided to its patients for nearly two decades. The company offers unparalleled customer-centric experience on top of optimum primary and multidisciplinary care from its reputable and experienced doctors, allowing its seven clinics at the Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza, Market! Market!, Festival Mall, 8 Adriatico Manila, SM The Block and Greenbelt 5 to earn a remarkable standing in the country in terms of preventive healthcare.