Saturday, June 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Free mobile eye-care a boon for villagers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
There are 32 million blind people in the world. Out of these 12 million are Indians. Most of the Indians get blind due to long-standing untreated cataracts. Christian Medical College and Hospital is doing excellent service by pressing a van for free mobile eye service. The project director is Dr Saramma Jaison, Prof and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology.

The hospital started the free mobile service way back in 1972 and since then has travelled through innumerable villages of Punjab and Himachal Pardesh. This mobile service provides comprehensive kind of services. The villagers are notified about the camp. Women, children and men suffering from eye ailments collect at a specified place which may either be a school or community bhavan or a ‘dharamshala’. The patients are screened with a device called ‘slit lamp’ which helps in magnification. The patients with refractive problems( weak eyesight) are provided with glasses. Those with ulcers on their corneas need a week-long treatment. If the problem is complicated, then the patients are either referred to CMC or to a nearby hospital.

The camp is of 10-day duration. In the first two days clinical examination takes place. The next three days are reserved for eye surgeries. The next four days the dressing of the patients is taken care of. Another unique feature is a follow-up programme. The doctors visit the camp and carry out a check-up after a fortnight. In case of any complications, further treatment is given. Doctors return yet again after six weeks to remove sutures and see that the patients are comfortable. In case some patients need help, the doctors extend their stay. In the year 2000, the number of patients treated were 25,267. As many as 9696 eye operations were performed. The percentage of cataract operations has risen from 18.65 in the year 1998 to 36.36 in 2000.

The patients with glaucoma, squint and cataract are operated at the camps. All the operations needing local anaesthesia are taken care of at the camp. The unique feature is of cataract operations performed with a different technique. Generally the whole cataract is removed. This kind of operation is easier to perform and takes less time. But it creates complications later on. The latest technique is more complicated, more time consuming. But the advantage is that during the operation, lenses can be inserted during the time of the operation. The patient needs only less powered glasses. This method proves to be much better in the long run. In the traditional method the patient has to wear a very thick glass. If the vision of one eye was good, the thick glasses can cause double vision. More than 40% of people go for intra ocular surgery.

Service Clubs like Rotary and Lions Clubs do bear the financial burden of these eye camps. At the time of operation, a lot of medicines, special kinds of liquids are required. CMC also provides free implant of lenses and medicines to very needy patients.

Women also come almost in equal numbers to be operated upon. The ambulances carry all the equipment like tables, surgical instruments, medicines and other things required for the operations. Each medical team has 10 people.

In the country maximum people go blind on account of cataract (motia, as it is commonly known). Dr M. Jaison says: “The people should not neglect early signs of cataract. In India people start getting cataract in forties though in foreign countries it starts much later.

1. In the early stage, when the patient looks at the luminated object, he can see black spots which seem to increase when the person goes out.

2. The vision begins to blur.

3. Halos of different colours are seen around light bulbs.

4. Cataract develops slowly.

5. Vision decreases gradually.

6. The whole process is painless.

7. Cataract can take 6 months to year to develop.

If the treatment is neglected , it can lead to glaucoma and the nerves suffer damage. A stitch in time saves nine is equally true about the timely operations of cataract to prevent blindness.


Love eyes, not cheap sunglasses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
“I sell about 10 pairs of sunglasses everyday at Rs 20 each”, said Mr Sham Singh, who sells these items near Ghanta Ghar Chowk here. There are numerous persons like him who sell substandard sun glasses to the public. The public attracted, either by filmstars or the low prices of these sun glasses, buys such items without bothering about the ill-effects of such glasses on the eyes.

Dr Saramma Jaison, Prof and Head of the Ophthalmological Department of Christian Medical College and Hospital, said, “Since the glasses are mass produced at a low cost, manufacturers compromise on quality, which is bad for your eyes. These sunglasses can cause headaches, eye strain and eye-fatigue. Sometimes, manufacturers use glasses that are not plain, only one glass of a pair may be plain, which is bad for the eyes.”

Dr Lajpat Rai, another eye-specialist, says, “The lenses of these glasses are made of plastic and offer only an ornamental protection to the eyes. These lenses usually cause eye-strain and headache. Bright colours and the cheap prices attract customers of lower-income group, but since there are plain lenses, these damage their eyes.

Dr Jaspreet, another ophthalmologist, said that the lenses of cheap goggles are not of uniform density, due to which light does not enter these lenses straight and causes a lot of eye-strain. Sometimes the power of both lenses is not equal and this can badly affect the eyesight. The lenses should be of zero diopter, but zero quality checks may let defective pieces enter the market.”

Ms Madhu, a PAU worker who used to wear such sunglasses, says, “Earlier, I had 6x6 vision, but after wearing these fancy sunglasses, my eyesight has become weak. The frames were uncomfortable and used to pinch my nose. Though I looked smart, wearing sunglasses of different colours everyday, I used to get headaches daily. After I have discontinued wearing these, I feel much better.”


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