6.2 crore Indians suffer visual impairment: AIIMS

Dr Atul Kumar, Chief, RP Centre, AIIMS, Delhi
Rohit Shishodia

Consumption of steroids, tobacco use and even the use of smart phones among children contribute to blindness and visual impairment. Some 80 lakh Indians are totally blind.

Experts have expressed concern over the increasing visual impairment in India. They inform that around 6.2 crore people in India are living with visual impairment.

Out of these 6.2 crore, 20 per cent or 80 lakh people, are blind. It is estimated that India carries 20 per cent burden of blindness of the entire globe.

Dr Atul Kumar, Chief, RP Centre, AIIMS, Delhi, pointed out that a major awareness campaign among the masses is needed to arrest the march of visual impairment and blindness in elderly population and young children.

Dr Kumar informed that disease like diabetes, BP and poor lifestyle contribute to the occurrence of visual impairment. “Diabetes impacts the eyes around ten years after its occurrence. Therefore, people should go for regular eye check-up and consume green vegetables to avoid eye disorders due to other diseases,” added Dr Kumar.

Dr Kumar revealed that consumption of steroids also results in eye diseases. “Around 20 per cent of young children have blindness due to consumption of steroids. Over the counter availability of steroids must be stopped. Steroids cause glaucoma,” explained Dr Kumar.

Dr Praveen Vashist, Professor and Head-Community Ophthalmology at AIIMS-Delhi, says that cataract is the biggest cause of blindness in India. “Thereafter, it is retina which causes blindness. 65 lakh surgeries of cataract are conducted in India,” said Dr Vashist.

Dr Vashist informed that tobacco consumption is one of the major factors which contribute to blindness. “Tobacco consumption impacts the nerves of the patients which also causes blindness. Smart phones also result in visual impairment in kids of very young age. Parents must educate and keep their children away from smart phones,” explained Dr Vashist.

He informed Delhi-AIIMS is conducting a study in Delhi’s Trilokpuri area on 20,000 children to ascertain the number of kids suffering from visual impairment and the causes of the same.

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