It is commonly acknowledged that diagnosis and treatment for ailments and diseases of all aspects of the human body have evolved and improved dramatically due to scientific advances in recent decades. Every area of healthcare nowadays would be beyond comprehension to our forebears a hundred years ago, and health problems which would once have been a death sentence are now generally cured or controlled with a lack of fuss. Even those health illnesses which can still end up being fatal and for which there is not yet a reliable cure can nevertheless be identified earlier in most cases, and then treated efficiently and with more better drugs to prolong the life of the patient.
Whilst much attention is paid to those diseases and problems which are life threatening or very debilitating – and rightly so – there are other long term health complaints which are mentioned less, and generally these relate to parts of the body, like the eyes and ears, which can have something wrong with them, but not usually in a way that is dangerous. Difficulties with hearing or seeing are more generally considered to cause discomfort for the sufferer, rather than being life changing.
Of course it is fair to say that being hard of hearing or being short-sighted won’t kill the sufferer, but if left ignored many minor problems can cause other health worries for the patient. For example, a person who is becoming hard of hearing can potentially suffer feelings of isolation, which can lead to feelings of depression, which can cause stress or an addiction to anti-depressants. One small innocuous health problem can be the cause of several others, when all the sufferer probably needs is to be tested for a hearing aid – an easy process which returns their hearing to normal and lets them to enjoy life to the full again.
The same situation applies to the eyes, although it is probably accurate to say that patients are more likely to seek help early on when they realise that they can no longer read a newspaper because the words are blurred or drive a car because they can’t identify objects on the road ahead of them. Nevertheless, if left and not investigated, eye problems can have a similar impact on other areas of health.
Where eyes are concerned there are a few health problems which most people will be aware of. Common problems are cataracts and glaucoma – nasty but treatable complaints which often cause difficulties for the elderly. And many individuals use reading glasses or driving glasses to correct problems with their vision.
There is evidence which show that as long as two thousand years ago the Chinese and the Romans understood the concept of employing a shaped piece of glass to magnify writing and make it clearer to read, and historical proof shows that proper reading glasses existed in Italy seven hundred years ago. So taking into account the scientific progress of recent years, it is not surprising that there are now alternate ways of correcting defective vision. One obvious innovation was the launch of contact lenses, and another was Laser eye surgery which can permanently rectify problems with eyesight so that glasses or contact lenses are no longer necessary. Obviously, not everyone wants to have Laser eye treatment – many people remain keen ontheir reading glasses, or opt to use contact lenses. However, for certain people, the decision to have Laser eye surgery may be influenced by their occupation, or a much loved pastime which is difficult to participate in without risking damage to glasses and the inconvenience of then not being able to see properly for the rest of the activity. It is possibly also accurate to say that Laser eye treatment is popular amongst people who always aspire to look perfect, so there is realistically an argument that medicine is in cahoots with vanity in this case!
Obviously, science and medicine continue to innovate and new cures and treatments are being patented all the time. How soon might it be before there is a treatment for ear complaints that works in the same way as Laser eye surgery? After all, there are already ways of removing scars and tattoos that get results in the same way as Laser eye treatment by eradicating the unwanted or damaged cells. Watch this space!
Tags: Health and Fitness