October 12, 2021, 11:12 AM

Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari on Sunday, October 9 virtually released a short film on ‘Myopia,’ which revolves around the awareness, prevention and control of the same.

Myopia, which is also called as ‘nearsightedness’ is a common vision condition, in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away are blurry. It occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to bend (refract) incorrectly, focusing images in front of your retina instead of on your retina.
Myopia is a growing problem among children. Myopia means the need to wear minus powered spectacles. Myopia is of great concern because once the minus power sets in children it tends to increase with age and with increase in power of spectacles the risk for the child to develop other eye related complications, which may lead to sight threatening complications in late adulthood. 
The risks of people with minus powered glasses include developing cataract, glaucoma and retinal detachment are many folds higher than a normal person. 
World Health Organisation predicts that by 2050 half the world’s population will be myopic, in other words they will need to wear minus powered spectacles. The findings are the same in Indian research done for Indian population.
Yeshwant Saoji, Optometrist from Nagpur, who is one of the contributing members of the task force informs that the film is aimed at general public, in order to increase their awareness towards this problem and to help them make lifestyle changes as exposing their children to outdoor activities, reducing their child’s time on gadgets and also make sure they take their child for a regular eye check-up. 
The film has experts giving their tips on how to tackle the increase in cases of Myopia. It also makes people aware that if the child is already Myopic, there are many options to slow Myopia progressions and thus prevent future complications. 
It emphasises early eye examination by Optometrists and implementation of anti-myopia strategies early in childhood. 
The film is in English and a Hindi voice over and lasts 3:25 min. 
The short message conveyed is – Tackle Myopia, protect your child’s eye health
The Myopia task force also formulated Myopia White Paper where they put together a document suggesting some educational and other policy measures to be implemented, which would help us in reducing the incidence of Myopia. 
Comments in the Myopia white paper and also in the film have been received from experts such as Dr GN Rao (Founder and former Chair of LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad), Dr Thulasiraj Ravilla (Director, Operations, Aravind eye care Systems, Madurai) and from Dr TS Surendran (Vice-Chair, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai). 
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