How is your eye health looking?
Across the world people observe World Sight Day on Oct 11, drawing attention to ocular issues, particularly preventing and treating ailments that lead to blindness and visual impairment.
The day is the most critical advocacy and communications event on eye health on the calendar.
Inspired by the late great eye surgeon, the Fred Hollows Foundation works in Laos and abroad to improve outcomes for all. World Sight Day celebration in the capital saw Vientiane Times asking participants and foundation representatives on how to best protect our eyesight.


Ms Viengsack Chalernsy, an official in Sikhottabong district: When I rode a motorbike I have to wear a helmet with visor. I am not often using a mobile phone and normally online on Facebook for just a few hours a day because I worry about the long use of a mobile phone, which may affect my eyes. Now I can’t see so far very well, so I wear glasses to help my vision deal with longer distances.

Mr Khamla Salibouth, an employee in Hadxayfong district: Now I have to wear glass all the time when I go outside because I have been diagnosed with pinguecula, caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. UV is the primary cause of the development of pinguecula, but it seems frequent exposure to dust and wind also appear to be risk factors. Dry eye diseases also may be a contributing factor and can promote the growth of pinguecula. It made me uncomfortable to see and hurt my eyes. Moreover, I have been suffering from pinguecula from 2007 until present. Also sometimes pinguecula can become swollen and inflamed. This ailment is called pingueculitis. Irritation and eye redness from pingueculitis usually result from excessive exposure to sunlight, wind, dust or extremely dry conditions.  In future, when close the eye I feel like it has pieces of sand inside my eyes and it hurts. Thus, I urge the relevant sector to help with this problem. Alas, I don’t have enough money for medical payments. I wear glasses to protect my eye from wind, sunlight and dust these days.

Mr Bounday Chanyjavong, representative of Ophthalmology Center in Thongpong village:  I’d like to recommend you to avoid direct sunlight or hours staring at a mobile phone screen. You should wear optical glasses if necessary. Don’t use a mobile phone for long hours at a time. Don’t use hands to touch when dust or something hit into your eyes, but you can wash with warm water. The most important is when you have eye pain, you must go to see a doctor. Don’t just use eye drops by yourself if a doctor did not prescribe them.

Mr Sithon Vinaiya, representative of Ophthalmology Centre in Thongpong village: The most common eye ailments in our nation are pinguecula, pterygium and allergy related. People should avoid exposure to heavy sunlight, smoke, pollution, ultraviolet radiation from a factory, particularly blacksmiths or metal welder in industrial factories. It’s essential for them to have special hats and goggles, for protection their eyes from exposure. Another way to take care of your eye health for office workers is to rest one’s eyes for five or ten minutes after using a computer for an hour. For instance, you close the eye or take it off your computer screen. Get up, walk around and look at another surrounding are or out of the window to adjust.

Ms Souvanna Phetyavong, a teacher at Vientiane – Hochiminh Friendship Upper Secondary School:  I just checked my eye health for the first time.
I can see far, but can’t see clearly when I read printed text. So I would like to wear glasses. I think it will be better. I also wear a helmet visor to protect the eyes from wind or dust while riding my motorbike on the dusty streets.

Ms Khamphouvanh Seansathith, a teacher at Sikhottabong district: When I read text for hours at a time it would dry tears from my eyes. Now I won’t gaze at my mobile phone and computer screens for a long time. I always rest my eyes and try to avoid exposure to damaging rays or irritants.
Mr Bounpheng Duangmala, representative of Fred Hollows Foundation to Laos: Fred Hollows Foundation has a grant fund to support World Sight Day celebration activities in Laos. This year Fred Hollows Foundation to Laos has joined hands with Ophthalmology Centre in Thongpong and set eye treatment expert team to check free eye health to public member and recommend them the right way to take care of their eyes.

Ms Thut Keomanythong, a teacher at Vientiane – Hochiminh Friendship Upper Secondary School: My eyesight has been a bit off since I was a kid, and since last year I have begun to develop an allergic reaction when my eyes are exposed to dust and dry wind. Sometimes I suffered from an itch in my eyes then I use general eye drop to get relief. Today I met eye doctor, and he suggests me to use artificial tears to lubricate my eyes.

ByPhouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update October 12, 2018)

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