One million glaucoma patients blind in Pakistan

Rawalpindi, March 17, 2017 (PPI-OT): There are more than two million glaucoma patients in Pakistan and almost half of them have already lost their eyesight permanently due to delay in diagnosis and treatment, an awareness session was told on Friday.

The situation is alarming requiring urgent steps, said Brig. (Retd) Rizwan Asghar, Executive Director Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital while speaking at an awareness session held in connection with World Glaucoma Week.

Brig Rizwan Asghar said that glaucoma is the ‘silent thief’ steals the sight of thousands of Pakistanis every year. Regarded as the second major cause of blindness globally the disease it causes the cables in the optic nerve to die off quicker than they should.

Getting an eye test is crucial as 80-90 percent of sufferers have no easily recognisable symptoms therefore the disease has become a major cause of blindness not only in Pakistan but the whole world, he added.

He said that over 90 percent of the population in the country is not aware of the disease therefore more and more people are becoming permanently blind in Pakistan.

At this occasion, Dr Farah Akhtar, head of Glaucoma Department said patients of blood pressure and diabetes must care for their eyes and regularly get their eyes checked from qualified ophthalmologist to preserve their eyesight.

Dr Farah urged people that after getting 30 they should get their eyes regularly checked, adding that prompt diagnosis of glaucoma is necessary as treatment of this disease with medicines is very costly and beyond reach of common man.

Dr Mehmood specialized doctor of glaucoma said unfortunately there are no clear-cut symptoms of glaucoma and many patients find them suffering from this disease when it has already reached advanced stage.

He demanded of the government to initiate glaucoma screening programs for saving people of rural areas from all eye ailments.

He said patients of constant headache, eye strain, blood pressure and diabetes should also give more attention to their eye care. Early detection and treatment of the disease can prevent permanent vision loss. Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has a fully functional and dedicated glaucoma clinic where consultations are offered for four days a week while two days are reserved for operations. So far more than 10 thousand patients are registered in the clinic which includes both the glaucoma cases and glaucoma suspects.

For more information, contact:
Executive Director,
Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital
Jhelum Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Phone: +92-51-5487820-24, 0336-5487666
Fax: +92-51-5487827


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