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Saturday April 13, 2024

Al-Shifa Trust cautions against glaucoma rising in children

By Muhammad Qasim
September 21, 2023

Rawalpindi:Glaucoma is a dangerous eye ailment that is affecting more and more children across the world and in Pakistan. This disease can cause vision problems and even blindness if not cured in a timely manner, Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital said on Wednesday.

The situation has become alarming, which is unnerving the eye care professionals, as many affected children and adults are not getting timely treatment, it said. If patients get the right help, like proper medicine or having an operation, they may not have problems with their eyesight for the rest of their lives, said Dr. Farah Akhtar, Head of Glaucoma Department at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital.

Talking to media men, she said that our doctors are experts in treating glaucoma and other eye diseases, and we provide free treatment to 80 per cent of the patients. It is crucial for parents to take their kids to doctors so that any issues may be identified early and treated effectively, as glaucoma is stealing the eyesight of many, she added. The prevalence of glaucoma in children and adults is on the rise everywhere in the world, including Pakistan, but the issue is not getting attention it deserves, she said. She added this disease is usually detected when it is late though the surgery is not painful at all. The treatment of glaucoma in children needs specialized medical and surgical care and frequent follow-ups; hence, parents of children suffering from childhood glaucoma have to face psychological stress, she said.

She added that Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital provides 80 per cent free medical and surgical treatment to patients with its experienced and highly skilled specialists. Several types of pediatric glaucoma procedures are conducted every day, with an average of 25 operations per day, she said, adding that due to effective care provided to these patients, we have been receiving referrals from all across the country and neighboring nations. A significant portion of glaucoma cases involve secondary causes such as trauma, prior eye surgery, related ocular malformations, or inappropriate steroid usage. Moreover, careless prescription and usage of over-the-counter eye drops with steroids have impaired the vision of many youngsters, which should be noticed, she demanded.

It is pertinent to mention that Al-Shifa Eye Hospitals in Rawalpindi, Sukkar, Kohat, and Muzaffarabad have performed 22,000 glaucoma surgeries until now, while the total number of glaucoma patients treated to date is more than one hundred thousand.