The nature of blindness varies greatly in different regions of the world, which depends on the local dietary habits and the nature of the disease that led to loss of vision. The diseases that are most often responsible for vision loss (worldwide) include trachoma, cataracts, glaucoma, keratomalacia and onchocerciasis, and in the past - natural smallpox, leprosy, gonorrhea and syphilis (currently the significance of the latter in this respect is substantial decreased).
In different countries of the world, blindness occurs at different rates: in Africa (in some of its regions) it reaches 10: 1000, while in Great Britain and the United States it is 2: 1000. In England, blindness is recorded arbitrarily, i.e. With some individual digressions. Although the generally accepted definition of blindness in the world denotes the inability to distinguish light, nevertheless persons are subject to registration as blind if their visual acuity is less than 3/60, and if it is greater than this index, then with a significant violation of the visual fields (as is the case with glaucoma) . In 1989, 153,000 visually impaired people were registered in the UK, and 13,000 were recorded each year as blinded for the first time, and 91,000 as persons with partial loss of sight. The criterion for partial loss of vision is visual acuity less than 6/60 (or more than 6/60, but with limited fields of vision).
In the last 60 years, the causes of blindness have changed significantly in the UK. For example, in the 1920s, the ophthalmia of newborns was responsible for 30% of blindness from all cases found in English schools for the blind, and is now a rare and curable disease.
Quite often in the sixties, retrolental fibroplasia was diagnosed, affecting primarily preterm infants. Monitoring of these children with intra-arterial oxygen administration seems to have led to the prevention of this disease, which is associated with a very high concentration of oxygen in the inspired air. In connection with the increase in the age of the elderly, it is the diseases that primarily affect this age category that are today the most frequent causes of blindness. Almost 2/3, the blind are those over the age of 65, and 1/3, those over the age of 75. Macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma are the three most common causes of blindness in the UK.
In England and Wales, the responsibility for registering the blind lies with the local administration. An application for the registration of a blind is done by a consultant-oculist, his form is arbitrary, non-standard. The registered person immediately receives certain privileges - free travel in transport, exemption from large taxes, reduced fees for watching television programs, some travel privileges and access to "talking" books. In order for persons with partial loss of sight to use "speaking" books, a special certificate from the oculist must be obtained. At one time it was required that a registered blind person be visited at home by a social worker, but currently this is not practiced, although the social service has employees who specialize in helping the blind. The Royal National Institute for the Blind is always ready to offer assistance, such as guide dogs (they can always be hired if necessary). Children with poor eyesight are provided with some help in training. In special schools the ratio of teaching and pupils is increased in favor of educators and there is special equipment, many oculists are assigned to many children who visit them at home. The disadvantage of this system is that such children have little contact with other children, especially if they are in a closed school.
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