The leading causes of blindness in the world
This pie chart shows the main causes of blindness in the world. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world, followed by refractive errors. In addition, there are many other eye conditions that can obstruct people’s vision. Below you will find information about the most common eye diseases.
Glaucoma (high eye pressure)
Glaucoma is sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as “green cataract”, but has nothing to do with cataracts. Glaucoma is an increased pressure in the eye, which kills off the optic nerves. A balance of moisture is generated internally in the eye and then discharged, this ensures the correct eye pressure. However, if the discharge of this fluid is obstructed, the pressure increases. The dead or damaged optic nerves cannot be repaired thus leaving gaps in the visual field. Laser treatment, eye drops and tablets can stabilise the situation.
Cataract is a clouding of the eye lens which usually occurs in elderly people. Symptoms of cataracts are double or blurred vision, sensitivity to light, decreased definition in the dark, colours are difficult or impossible to distinguish, and varying visual acuity. If not treated, cataracts lead to blindness. Cataract surgery is the only solution and means that the clouded lens is replaced by an artificial lens.
Video Cataract surgery
A detached retina occurs most frequently in older people. With ageing there is a gradual change in the composition of the vitreous gel located between the lens and the retina. This may cause the retina to come loose and moisture can get under. Symptoms include extreme short sightedness, an increase in dark floating matter and flashes of light. If retinal detachment is not treated, it can lead to visual impairment or blindness. With a laser treatment or with surgery to the retina it can often be restored.
Diabetic retinopathy (DRP)
Diabetic retinopathy is an abnormality of the retina which occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus. It often begins with small changes in blood vessels (micro-aneurysms) and/or small haemorrhages in the retina. In the initial stages of this disorder the patient has no symptoms. The changing glucose levels in the blood and the eye lens occur less rapidly so the patient does not notice the eye disorder. That is why it is so important that diabetes patients are regularly screened. When this abnormality is not detected early, it can lead to blindness. The treatment may consist of a laser treatment, injections or vitreous surgery.
Keratoconus is an increasing thinning of the cornea. The cornea does not have a fine spherical shape, but protrudes forward in a cone-like shape and sometimes gravitates towards the bottom of the cornea. The cone formation occurs almost always in both eyes. Vision becomes progressively blurred because the light falls no longer directly on the retina. Also patients can be sensitive to light. In the beginning stage of keratoconus, visual sharpness can be improved with glasses or soft contact lenses. With the increasing change in shape, glasses and/or soft contact lenses are no longer sufficient to correct the cone shape. The use of hard contact lenses is then the solution.
Macular degeneration (MD)
Macular degeneration is wear of the central portion (the macula or yellow spot, the part of the retina that provides for the reading vision) of the retina. This deviation usually occurs later in life. A patient sees a blurry dark spot in the focus area of his vision. The patient notices that the central vision slowly deteriorates. Sometimes, deformation is the first thing one notices. Lines are not straight, but have a strange twist. There are several treatments that can slow down the process, such as injections, surgery or dietary supplements.
Chalazion (bump on the eyelid)
Chalazion, a bump on the upper or lower eyelid, is the result of a blockage of a sebaceous gland. A chalazion can spontaneously disappear. A chalazion in the early stage can be treated with warm compresses and massage. A subsequent infection can be treated with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory eye drops. An established chalazion can be removed under local anaesthetic by a small incision.
It can happen after a successful cataract operation that the lens begins to cloud. This clouding is not the return of the original cataract but a thickening of the lens capsule. A short laser treatment will solve this problem.
The most common eye problems in children.
Amblyopia (lazy eye)
A lazy eye occurs during early childhood, and is the result of a slow development of one of the two eyes. It is important that this abnormality is found quickly, so that it can be effectively treated. Treatment is performed by an orthoptist and usually consists of masking the good eye to encouraging the lazy eye to better develop.
Cataract in children
Cataracts can also occur in children. TThe cause of this form of cataract does not lie in the aging of the lens, but can be hereditary or acquired. Acquired cataracts can be caused by the mother having illness during pregnancy (eg rubella). Here, too, cataract surgery is necessary.
Strabismus (cross eyed)
Strabismus means that both eyes do not look in the same direction. There are different types of strabismus. The eye has six muscles. When there is a good balance between all the eye muscles, the eyes are aligned. Strabismus upsets this balance. Factors that can promote the development of strabismus include: genetic factors, congenital strabismus, incorrect glasses, a result of (infectious) diseases, a problem with eye movement, emotional, shock or accident. In addition, there is a connection between strabismus and farsightedness. If the strabismus is not corrected with glasses and / or exercises, an operation may be required. Patient Stories.
Prevent avoidable blindness.
Give people a chance of a better life.
The Eye Care Foundation helps prevent and cure avoidable blindness and visual impairment in developing countries. Worldwide there are 285 million people with visual impairments. 39 million of these people are blind, 246 million are visually impaired. A massive 90% of people with visual disabilities live in developing countries. In developing countries, blindness leads to major economic and social problems. Blind people can no longer work normally and are dependent on family members and friends. 80% is avoidable or can be cured: for example, with cataract surgery or a good pair of glasses. It may be a simple solution, but without the financial help of you as a donor, it is impossible for us to achieve this.