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Eye checkups: Why do so many Indians miss out?

Around sixty million Indians are affected by eye conditions. Despite this, many miss out on eye checkups and many do not follow medical advice about eye care.

Just one in five Indians receive regular eye checkups according to new research, which also reveals that many do not follow their doctors’ advice about looking after their eyes despite their eye health being important to them.

India is home to more than sixty million people affected by some form of visual impairment. Despite this, the country has a shortage of eye health specialists, such as optometrists and ophthalmologists. As such, eye health checkups may be difficult to access for many. However, 84 percent of those recently surveyed by Signify have said they do not follow medical advice on caring for their eyes, despite 65 percent identifying good eye health as a priority for their wellbeing. 

The study also revealed a plethora of common risk factors for eye disease: exposure to poor quality lighting, lifestyle habits and diabetes were flagged as leading causes of poor eye health. On average, Indians spend fourteen hours under artificial lighting and three-quarters experience eye strain and irritation due to participating in screen time of ten hours or more. 

Raising awareness of the importance of good eye health and expanding access to screening and treatment is key in tackling a leading cause of disability in the country. India is home to twenty percent of the world’s blind population. Ensuring people are aware of the importance of looking after their eyes and what the risk factors are for deterioration of their eye health ought to be a focus. In addition, it is imperative that eye health specialists are staffed in adequate numbers so that eye disease can be caught before irreversible damage is done and so that treatment can be administered in a timely manner. 

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