Healthy eyes – new therapies maintain sight | DW Documentary

Healthy eyes – new therapies maintain sight | DW Documentary

Eye conditions are increasing massively worldwide. Older people often suffer from cataracts or glaucoma. But younger people are also suffering from vision loss – they are becoming increasingly short-sighted. Around the globe, doctors are fighting against the deterioration of eyesight.

The documentary shows how doctors are working worldwide to combat eye diseases, introduces new healing methods and techniques and shows the possibilities and the limitations of modern ophthalmology.

In the Augsburg clinic ”Am Forsterpark,” for example, cataracts are treated with a femtosecond laser. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and only takes a few minutes. After anesthesia, the doctor cuts a 3mm slit in the lens capsule. Through the opening, the cloudy lens is shattered with the laser and sucked out. An artificial lens with two tiny hooks is then placed in the eye.

Most people in poorer parts of the world have no access to such high-tech care. Some 89 percent of people with visual impairments live in developing countries. There, the risk of going blind is ten times higher than in Germany. Many patients cannot even afford the trip to the clinic. Ophthalmologists like Dr. Sylvain El-Khoury therefore travel to the rural areas of Rwanda, Africa, several times a year and operate on up to 500 patients per week under the most basic conditions in ”eye camps.”

The doctors are also making progress in the treatment of myopia. The excessive use of smartphones, tablets and computers has ever greater medical consequences. According to a study by the University of Mainz, more than half of high school and university graduates already suffer from myopia. Shortsightedness can be corrected with glasses and treated with eye drops. But often the visual weakness increases over the years and myopia becomes a gateway for other eye diseases. Researchers at the University of Mainz have found that myopia is often not genetically determined but is due to our lifestyle. Doctors are therefore calling for a new approach to mobile phones and laptops.


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