Posted on October 16, 2016

In recognition of World Sight Day, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is increasing awareness of the global issue of avoidable vision loss and blindness.

“Approximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness and of these individuals, 39 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment which could be otherwise avoided through treatment,” said Dr. Zakia Mohamed Al Ansari, Specialist at HMC’s Ophthalmology Section. World Sight Day is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable visual impairment and blindness. This year’s global theme is: “Universal Eye Health”. “People of all ages believe that if they can see clearly, their eyes are healthy. But this may not always be the case,” said Dr. Al Ansari. “People of all ages are susceptible to visual impairment and blindness.”

HMC promotes the importance 2 [].jpgAccording to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness there are over 19 million blind children all over the world, and many of these cases could have been prevented through regular checkups. To help address this, HMC provides a screening program for all infants born at Women’s Hospital and advises that children have follow-up screenings when they are six months old, three years old, during preschool and a yearly screening thereafter. “It is imperative that everyone, including children has regular, comprehensive eye exams in order to ensure good eye health,” stated Dr. Al Ansari. “In 80 percent of cases, visual impairment could have been avoided through the appropriate treatment.”

As a glaucoma specialist, Dr. Al Ansari highlighted that the most common vision impairment problems seen in Qatar include glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. She stated that awareness, prevention and regular check-ups are the best options for people with a high risk of vision impairment, such as individuals living with diabetes. To schedule an eye exam, patients are urged to visit their Primary Health Care Center for a referral. Individuals will then be referred to HMC’s Ophthalmology Department.

HMC's Ophthalmology Department provides basic ophthalmic care to advanced surgical procedures in the anterior segment, posterior segment, oculoplasty and pediatrics. Also it provides comprehensive testing and diagnostic services such as visual field tests and optical coherence tomography, fundus photography, ultrasound, electrophysiology, corneal imaging and fluorescein imaging.