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How alcohol, smoking can make you go blind

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A Benin-based optometrist , Dr. Ozor Ibhade, has warned that excessive smoking and drinking are likely to cause visual impairment in humans .

Ibhade said that on Monday in Benin, about 253 people in the world had visual impairment out of which 36 million of them were actually blind.

She said , “Many people suffer from visual impairment as a result of ignorance of the ways and methods of taking care of their eyes .”

She explained that the eye , being one of the sensitive organs of the human body, needs to be given special attention .

The expert listed some of the causes of visual impairment to include excessive smoking , drinking habits , and inherited genes .

The optometrist explained, “ In spite of these factors , one can still prevent becoming visually impaired if you know who to take care of your sight .

“ Most people do not know how to take care of their sights until it is too late to do anything.

“ The sun rays or radiation, for instance , is harmful to the eyes . But you can wear cold sunglasses and other protective sun shades depending on your nature of job , to control the rays and protect the eyes .

“ Some of the many ways to avoid eye disease is to first know your family health history , engage in regular exercise , control of diabetics and high cholesterol .

“ People are also advised to avoid looking straight at the sun rays , avoid smoking and heavy drinking habit.

“ Regular contact with sun rays causes catarrh while smoking causes macula regeneration . Glaucoma, being a hereditary eye disease , does not give any sign before the sufferer can go blind ’’ .

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According to Ibhade, WHO statistics shows that about 253 million people globally have visual impairment out of which 36 million of them are actually blind .

“ For people leaving with visual impairment, between 80 per cent and 81 per cent either have an uncorrected refractive error or unoperated catarrh .

“ Statistics have also shown that people in the rural areas or low income are susceptible to visual impairment, ” she said.

The optometrist said that for any human to live a better life , that person must have healthy eyes , being one of the body organs that interpret messages sent to the brain .

“ We need to increase sight awareness because many people move about without knowing their sight status .

“ Many people also leave with the belief or notion that they are blind . But what they only need is corrective surgery for the refractive error or unoperated catarrah ,’’ Ibhade said .

She said that lack of awareness and knowledge of what to do was the reason they either “ become blind or suffer one form of visual impairment’’ .

The physician urged governments at all levels to pay more attention to eye care , saying “ governments usually pay attention to general healthcare to the detriment of eye care .

“ This needs to be corrected as the eye is too sensitive an organ to be neglected either by individuals or government health institutions,” she said .

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