Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I read with great interest a CNN article titled, “Prince William reveals how his poor eyesight helped with nerves when public speaking.”

The article mentions that when HRH Prince William felt uneasy, he would simply not wear his contact lenses.  This causes blurred vision such that he would then be unable to see the body language expressions of his audience.

Infact, Prince William describes a condition known as uncorrected refractive error (URE). Uncorrected refractive error is a leading cause of blindness throughout the world.  On World Sight Day 2006, the WHO estimated that 153 million worldwide suffered from blindness or visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive errors.(NIH article)

Lou et. al IOVS article (2016) states, “Uncorrected refractive error (URE), which affects a large proportion of the world population, is the major cause of vision impairment and the secondary cause of blindness. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010 estimated that in 2010, 101.2 million cases of moderate and severe visual impairment (MSVI), and 6.8 million cases of blindness were due to URE. Uncorrected refractive error may reduce educational opportunities, productivity, and overall quality of life.”

Other leading causes of blindness include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathyglaucoma and cataracts.  These diseases account for most cases of adult blindness and low vision among people in developed countries. Because these eye diseases cause no pain and often have no early symptoms, they do not automatically prompt people to seek medical care. 

A thorough eye exam can also detect other health conditions, such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and some cancers. 

So a pair of eyeglasses — or in the case of HRH Prince William, contact lenses — can actually help with self confidence, overall vision and quality of life.