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Need to focus on ophthalmic betterment in India, to reduce preventable blindness – AIOC 2020

Need to focus on ophthalmic betterment in India, to reduce preventable blindness – AIOC 2020 1

The 78th Annual International Conference organised by AIOS, successfully concluded today. The four-day long conference highlighted participation and exchange of ideas by over 7000 International faculty members, upon the ways to make the technology available to the root level and discussions on the various aspects to boost the future of ophthalmology in India.

With an aim to boost the latest and advanced technologies available for the treatment of eye related ailments in India, necessary steps need to be taken in order to implement them. One of the major outcomes of the sessions included delivering quality and technology driven eye care to the masses. While advancements in the treatment of cataract surgeries like the advent of LASIK, Femtosecond laser surgeries (commonly known as Bladeless cataract surgeries) have changed the outcome of the procedures, cataract is still the leading cause of blindness in the world.

“Over the years, cataract surgery has evolved from a vision “restorative” surgery to a “refractive” surgery- aiming to provide enhanced visual outcomes and reduce or eliminate the patients’ dependence on glasses. The traditional Phacoemulsification stitch-less cataract surgery is a manual technique where-in cuts were made onto cornea using a hand held blade. The femtosecond laser aims to convert this manual, multi-step, multi- tool procedure to one with laser created, computer-controlled precision. The critical high-resolution eye image mapping and measurements that are used to plan & perform the surgery to exact specifications are not attainable with traditional surgery. In Femtosecond, certain aspects of cataract surgery are automatically programmed and monitored by the computer.” Said Dr. Mahipal S.Sachdev, President, AIOS

Low vision and blindness affect 9 per cent of the total population in India. There are 19 million blind people in India and the number is increasing every day. Cataract is an important cause of low vision in both developed and developing countries, being responsible for almost half of global blindness. The absolute number of cataract blinds in India is likely to increase to 8.25 million by 2020 due to substantial increase in the population above 50 years of age. 50% of the world’s blind population is in India. Sadly, majority of these cases are avoidable (i.e. curable or preventable). Other ailments causing irreversible vision loss include Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and Diabetic Retinopathy.

“With increasing longevity, urban Indian population has become a major contributor of diseases like Age related macular regeneration and Diabetic retinopathy. Timely detection and treatment are crucial because vision loss by these diseases can be prevented but not cured. Advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy are asymptomatic and regular retina screening is essential for all diabetics. The retina specialist can suggest suitable treatment options depending on the stage of the disease and age of the patient like laser photocoagulation, intravitreal injections and vitrectomy.” Said Dr. Rajesh Sinha, Treasurer, AIOS

Seeking to the hard times for the eyecare facilities, with input costs rising, regulators tightening the noose and the financial renumeration dwindling, AIOS feels that ‘Make in India’ is something, which is the need of the hour.

“While one of the major challenges that the eye care facilitators are facing is the price capping of state-of-the-art surgeries through Government aided schemes. In a survey it was estimated that the cost without any profit for cataract surgery was Rs 24,000 which has been curbed down to Rs 7500. This indigenous production of material and consumables will help each ophthalmic setup save some funds, which will be critical in today’s scenario. We at AIOS will walk the extra mile to encourage industry, institutes and individuals in inventing and improvising by providing them with all the support required.” Added Said Dr. Namrata Sharma, Hony. General Secretary, AIOS

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