The gift of sight plays an often overlooked yet vital role within our daily lives. With not much regard being shown for one of humankind’s most significant senses, education about our sight must be brought to the forefront.
Therefore, Eye Care Awareness Month, which takes place from 20 September to 17 October, plays an integral role in creating the necessary awareness around eye care.
During this time, medical professionals raise awareness about the importance of eye health, specifically around the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness.
As South Africa’s medical sector focuses on eye care over the upcoming days, we speak to Dr Junaid Zondi, an Ophthalmic Surgeon who is known for his specialised knowledge of the eye.
In light of Eye Care Awareness Month, Dr Zondi shares valuable insight and advice for people to follow in order to care for their eyes correctly.
Stressing, it is of the utmost importance of having one’s eyes regularly checked by your local ophthalmologist — to avoid serious complications. He highlights it is paramount to avoid waiting until you have symptoms of some form of medical disorder.
Additionally, he explains, “For people with comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure, it is vital for them to know their conditions can cause ocular problems and screening for this is of utmost importance because prevention is better than cure.”
Dr Zondi also adds, it is crucial to know ocular conditions do not only affect the elderly, stating, “Even young adults and children need to have their eyes regularly screened.”
As an Ophthalmic Surgeon, Dr Zondi uses a vast range of technology and equipment to aid his patients. However, not many people are aware of the medical equipment available in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Offering some insight, the doctor elaborates, “The equipment we use consists of machines to perform certain procedures and high-tech microscopes. The microscope helps with magnifying the eye and its structures for better visualisation of the microscopic components of the eye.”
Furthermore, he highlights that the different machines are used to perform various surgical procedures from cataracts to vitrectomies to lasers etc.
“The technology in first world countries is relatively similar to our technology/equipment here. Certain things might be slightly more advanced, but for most of the common conditions that we encounter here the equipment is relatively the same,” Dr Zondi assures.
As he focuses on a vast range of medical conditions pertaining to the eye, Dr Zondi points out there are certain things we should not do to our eyes.
Emphasising the following actions should not be done:
- Rubbing of the eyes
- Using medication not prescribed by a professional
- Spending too much time looking at screens
- Not wearing protective gear in dangerous conditions. This includes welding.
- Avoiding regular eye screening.
As Dr Zondi highlights the importance of eye care — be sure to book your eye exam to protect your two precious gifts.