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Karachi

March 21, 2017

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‘Viral eye infections occurring frequently in city due to pollution’

‘Viral eye infections occurring frequently in city due to pollution’

Experts say allergic reactions and conjunctivitis also
resulting from poor environmental conditions

Poor environmental conditions due to heaps of garbage at every nook and corner, the burning of solid waste and dust from unplanned development works in the city have increased the frequency of viral eye infections, allergic reactions and conjunctivitis.

“Frequency of viral eye infections, especially conjunctivitis and allergic reactions, has increased manifolds in Karachi due to extremely poor environmental conditions and dust because of developments works. Citizens need to take special care of their eyes in these circumstances,” said eminent eye surgeon and Hashmanis Hospital medical director Dr Sharif Hashmani.

Accompanied by Hashmanis Hospital director Dr Arsalan Hashmani, Sadiq Qureshi and Media Director Azhar Nisar, he told a press briefing on Monday that eyes were the most delicate organs in the human body and needed special care, but due to the prevailing unhygienic conditions in Karachi, people were having viral infections and dust allergic reactions more frequently.

“Authorities in Karachi would have to pay special attention to this aspect also as poor environmental conditions and dust are causing an irreparable loss to the eyes of people, especially children in the city.”

Declaring diabetes as the growing cause of blindness in urban areas of Pakistan, Dr Hashmani said people from affluent areas of cities, including Defence and Clifton in Karachi, were getting blind due to diabetes, which was a preventable disease. He urged the people to control or avoid diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle for maintain healthy vision.

“On the other hand, cataract is still the number one cause of blindness in Pakistan although in the developed countries, blindness due to cataract has been controlled to a large extent,” he said, adding that advanced techniques and surgeries were being used in the developed countries to treat cataract and prevent blindness these days.

To a query, Dr Hasmani said cataract, which was the major cause of blindness in Pakistan’s rural areas, was an age-specific condition and people after 40 years of age started having cataract. But due to early diagnosis and laser surgeries, cataract removal was now an easy procedure and could be carried out with extreme precision, he added.

On the other hand, diabetes was becoming a major issue for eye specialists in Pakistan as a large number of people were losing their vision because of this lifestyle disease, he said and urged the people to control blood sugar levels to maintain their eyesight.

Responding to another query, Dr Hashmani deplored that instances of cadaver cornea or eye donation were very rare in Pakistan and even if a person allowed his corneas to be removed after his death, his or her relatives did not let surgeons to remove the corneas.

“There are thousands of people who wish to receive corneas from others, but hardly a few are willing to donate their eyes to others after their death. We need to launch a campaign in this regard and very soon Hashmanis Hospital would carry out a campaign for promoting cornea donation in the country.

“A single person’s corneas can help two blind persons regain eyesight. Recently, Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi donated his corneas which helped two persons to regain their eye sight. I hope people would follow the legacy of Maulana Edhi.”

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