Survey: Hong Kong Not Paying Enough Attention to Eye Health

World Sight Day: Charity Orbis Sounds Alarm on ‘Worrying’ Eye Health Among Hong Kongers

Oct. 13 marks the annual World Sight Day, a global campaign dedicated to bringing awareness to blindness and visual impairment. On this day, we draw attention to Hong Kong’s troubling health and wellness habits when it comes to taking care of our eyes.

Eye care charity Orbis warned that Hong Kong people do not pay enough attention to their eye health, local media outlet RTHK reported today. Orbis found in a survey conducted with Hong Kong Ophthalmological Society that more than half of the respondents had never gone for an eye check-up.

Of the 6,253 locals surveyed in September, 52% had never had their eyes checked, while 40% had high-risk or medium risk of developing eye diseases.

Emmy Li, Orbis vice president and volunteer doctor, described the situation as “worrying” as quoted by the RTHK.

In the article, Li noted that one of the main reasons she believes Hong Kong people do not regularly go for eye-check ups is likely due to people’s belief that normal to manageable vision is equal to healthy eyes.

“But in fact, that is not the case, because there are many eye diseases that in the early stage, the symptom is not that obvious,” Li was quoted as saying.

Li also warned against rubbing of eyes, saying that instead of soothing discomfort, this may induce infection.

“If you rub your eyes a lot, there’s risk that your hands are not clean enough, and you’re introducing bacteria and germs and causing eye infection. Sometimes the more you rub, the more itchy that you feel.”

Li urged people not to ignore symptoms such as flashes and floaters as these could be indications of more serious eye diseases. Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision, and floaters may look like specks, circles, lines, or cobwebs.

“This is particularly worrying, because if you have floated or flashes, it means there’s a possibility that you have some retinal problems. In the worst case, it can be an early symptom of retinal detachment, which is a blinding disease. So I think if individuals experience floaters or flashers, it is very needed that they go to an eye check-up by a specialist,” Li was quoted as saying.

Young adults are also less likely to maintain and monitor eye health, according to the survey. Only around 33% of respondents aged 20 to 29 said they had completed a comprehensive eye test.

“It’s likely because teenagers usually see well. They don’t have a blurring vision, and it’s less likely that their eyes get dry,” Li said.

Hidden eye diseases and lack of awareness are detrimental to identifying potential eye disease before they worsen.

World Sight Day is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of October.

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