Eye drop reaction deprives many patients of vision

Updated Jan 23 2020

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Manzoor Ahmed Kiani, 53, who works as a sub-inspector in Bagh, Azad Kashmir, while talking to <em>Dawn</em> said he was operated for Glaucoma on Jan 8.— Photo courtesy Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital website
Manzoor Ahmed Kiani, 53, who works as a sub-inspector in Bagh, Azad Kashmir, while talking to Dawn said he was operated for Glaucoma on Jan 8.— Photo courtesy Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital website

ISLAMABAD: The government and management at Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital are investigating the reason behind an incident in which a number of patients reportedly lost their eyesight after eye drops were administered to them.

Patients, who have gone through operations of glaucoma, have been alleging that 80 patients lost their eyesight. In response to the allegations, the hospital administration claims after administration of drops condition of eight patients deteriorated while one woman lost her eyesight.

Manzoor Ahmed Kiani, 53, who works as a sub-inspector in Bagh, Azad Kashmir, while talking to Dawn said he was operated for Glaucoma on Jan 8.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision.

“After the operation, eye drops were administered to me. I don’t know what kind of impurity was in the eye drops because I had a severe infection and lost my eyesight. Same thing happened to the patient next to my bed,” he said.

Govt, hospital management initiate probe into incident

Mr Manzoor, who is a father of six, his youngest being nine, said that the incident has not only made his life difficult but jeopardised the future of his children.

“I used to be a traffic sergeant but now I may not be able to join my office again. Me and my family were not prepared for this and have no clue about what we will do,” he added.

Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also spoke against the incident because one of the women of his constituency lost her eyesight.

Upon being contacted, Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Media Coordinator Mirza Riaz Baig told Dawn that the allegation was wrong and 80 patients did not lose their eyesight.

“We hold around 250 operations daily and only eight patients had a reaction to the eye drops. One woman, out of them, lost her sight and she belongs to the constituency of the former prime minister. Other patients’ eyesight could not recover fully so we called them again and admitted them to provide treatment,” he said.

“We are unaware of why this has happened and will be able to share the reason after medical investigation,” he said.

The hospital provides free treatment to 70pc of its patients. Only 10pc patients pay for the treatment because they claim that they can afford the expenses and refuse to get free treatment, he added.

“We have been serving the people so no one should doubt the intentions of the hospital. The eye drops that were administered were imported and we never had a complaint like this in the past,” he said.

According to the website of Al-Shifa Trust, it was established to prevent blindness by providing standard eye care services which are accessible and affordable to all regardless of gender, race, colour or religion.

Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) Chief Executive Officer Dr Asim Rauf, talking to Dawn, announced to investigate the matter.

“I am directing the Pharmacy Service Division to look into the matter and submit a detailed report regarding the incident,” he said.

Responding to a question, Dr Rauf said he had never heard about the loss of eyesight due to eye drops.

Usually people have allergy due to the drops but they recover after some days, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2020