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Last Updated: Oct 31, 2019
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Blindness: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is Blindness? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is Blindness?

Blindness can also be called as anopsiastar, purblindnessstar, typhlosisstar, presbyopia et cetera in medical terms.

How is the treatment done?

Blindness is the state of visual impairment with complete loss of vision. The person becomes sightless and hence is unable to see. A blind person is unable to distinguish between darkness and light as both his eyes have lost the power of minimal vision.

There can be many causes of blindness which differ on the basis of the socioeconomic condition of the nation. One of the leading causes of blindness include ocular complications of diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and traumatic injuries. Trachoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness), and leprosy constitute infectious causes of blindness. Several other causes of blindness are vitamin A deficiency, retinopathy of prematurity, blood vessel diseases which also involve the retina or optic nerve including stroke, ocular inflammatory disease, infectious diseases of the cornea or retina, primary or secondary malignancies of the eye, retinitis pigmentosa, congenital abnormalities, chemical poisoning from toxic agents such as methanol. Blindness sometimes can be caused as the hereditary diseases of the eye.

The most obvious symptom of blindness is visual impairment or permanent loss of vision. Other associated symptoms may be present, such as, discomfort in the eyes, awareness of the eyes, foreign body sensation, and pain in the eyes or discharge from the eyes. These occurrences depend on the underlying cause of the blindness.

The treatment of visual impairment or blindness depends on the underlying cause of it. People who have poor vision as a result of a refractive error, can be given glasses which will alleviate the problem. Nutritional causes which result into blindness can be addressed by dietary changes. There are millions of people in the world who go blind due to cataracts in the eyes. In these patients, cataract surgery can help in restoring their sight. Inflammatory and infectious causes of blindness can be treated with medication in the form of drops or pills. People who lost vision as a result of corneal scarring can be cured by a corneal transplantation.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Diagnosis of blindness includes testing each eye individually and by measuring the visual acuity and the visual field, or peripheral vision by ophthalmologists. Patients may have blindness either in one eye (unilateral blindness) or both eyes (bilateral blindness). In case of hereditary blindness, historical information regarding the blindness can be helpful in diagnosing the cause of blindness. Temporary blindness differs in cause from permanent blindness. Visual field testing involves the patient to look straight ahead at a device while lights in peripheral vision are flashed on and off. The patients are asked to respond by pressing a button every time they see a light. This helps to show any gaps in their field of vision. Visual acuity test requires a person to be able to read letters on the Snellen chart.

Treatment of blindness depends on the underlying cause of the problem. People who go blind due to glaucoma should be treated with eye drops and tablets to clear the eyes and provide vision again. Surgical operations may also be done to cure this. Another method of treatment is to do laser treatment. For corneal ulcers which make people blind, patients should use eye drops and dark goggles to keep the eyes clean and free from dust, and foreign particles. Eyes should be given complete rest by mydriatics. Local steroid eye drops and ointments, cycloplegics, systemic steroids, ocular anti–hypertensive drugs are used to treat blindness of the iritis. Eye ointments like Tetracycline or Erythromycin can be used to treat blindness caused by trachoma. Retinopathy involves the treatment of complication, control of diabetes & hypertension. Night blindness can be treated with increases consumption of vitamin A. Corneal Opacity can be treated with surgery which is known as keratoplasty.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People should immediately consult a doctor when they face problems with vision. Any symptoms of visual impairment such as blurring of sight, inability to see far or near et cetera should be attended by a doctor at the earliest. Blindness or complete absence of vision can affect people to a great extent and hamper their daily lives. They should consult a doctor to seek medical help and care for a cure to this disease.

Are there any side effects?

People with normal eye sight do not need to visit doctors for any medical treatment. People with proper vision, of both and far, within optical reach can lead a normal life without the need for glasses. If there are no issues with the eyes and no symptoms of going blind, people can refrain from any medical help.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no known side effects of the treatment of blindness. If the surgical operations and treatments are carried out carefully, with harming any part of the eye, then people can be cured from blindness. People may face watery eyes for some days post treatment, but this goes away soon.

How long does it take to recover?

After treatment, people may take some time to adjust to light and visuals. They should first be exposed to low light and then slowly to higher amounts of light. This is done to prevent the retina from damage due to sudden exposure to a huge amount of light after a period of complete darkness. Post treatment, patients should completely follow doctor’s prescription and advices. They should use sun glasses to protect their eyes from the harmful rays and dust particles. Keeping eyes cleaned and seeing green color for a stretch can help in getting better visual capability soon. Also if blindness was caused as a result of any other associated disease, then special care must be taken to prevent recurrence of the disease again.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Blindness from birth can be difficult to cure. But people who go blind due to some other causes or at a later stages of life can be treated and sight can be brought back. Surgical operations and other treatments can cure blindness in less time. Post surgery, people may take around two or three days after which they can start seeing objects with full vision. Their vision improves given time and proper care. Complete recovery may take around a month time.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treatment of blindness and other eye related problems involve one of the most expensive treatments in the world. A recent breakthrough which is known as genetic treatment to cure blindness will cost a huge amount per patient. In general, surgical operations and treatments cost around Rs 50,000- Rs. 10,00,000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Mostly, the treatment of blindness is usually permanent. Blindness is now a curable disease if there are no severe complications. People can enhance their vision with improved diet, exercises and care.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 54 years old male with type 2 diabetes. Currently I am taking metformin (2 times a day). My problem is diseases and side effects associated with diabetes like stomach upset numbness in feet (tingling sensation) problems related with eyes (diabetic macular edema and glaucoma) I want to consult with a endocrinologist who can advise me on diabetes with minimum medicine so that the side effects can be minimized.

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