Pakistani experts said that almost 0.9 million glaucoma patients were already blind due to lack of awareness and expensive treatment. – Reuters Photo

KARACHI: There are more than 1.8million glaucoma patients in Pakistan and almost half of them have already lost their eyesight, permanently, due to delay in diagnosis and treatment, a seminar on eye diseases was told here.

The seminar aimed at raising awareness about glaucoma was held at the Eye Department of Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). Incharge Eye Department at Ojha Campus Hospital of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Dr Mirza Shafiq Baig said the glaucoma is the major cause of blindness not only in Pakistan but the whole world.

He regretted 90per cent population in the country has no awareness about this disease, resultantly, more and more people are becoming permanently blind in Pakistan due to untreated glaucoma.

Dr Baig said patients of blood pressure and diabetes must care for their eyes and regularly checked their eyes from qualified ophthalmologist so as to preserve their eyesight.

President of Ophthalmology Society of Pakistan and eye expert at the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) Dr Shahid Wahab asked for raising awareness about eye diseases. He urged people after 30 years of age should get their eyes regularly checked.

He said prompt diagnosis of glaucoma is necessary as treatment of this disease with medicines is very costly and beyond reach of common man.

General Secretary Ophthalmology Society of Pakistan Dr Qazi Wasif 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 massive glaucoma screening programs for saving people of rural and far-flung areas from glaucoma and other eye ailments. Dr Tariq Saleem of Prevention and Control of Blindness said in Pakistan two per cent of glaucoma patients are children, which is a worrisome factor.

He said every year dozens of children suffering from glaucoma are referred to the Eye Department of Civil Hospital Karachi. Incharge Eye Department at Sindh Government Hospital New Karachi Dr Menhajuddin Shaikh said people with glaucoma running in their families should get their eyes screened as they are more prone to catch this disease.

He said patients of constant headache, eye strain, blood pressure and diabetes should also give more attention to their eye health. He warned that self-medication in case of eye diseases must be avoided as it might backfire.

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