Kerala ophthalmologists aim to spread awareness on eye donations

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 26 (IANS) After conducting record cataract surgeries in the state, Kerala ophthalmologists now aim to tackle other eye ailments as well as increasing public awareness about eye donations.

“Not long ago, 70 percent blindness cases in Kerala were due to cataract. Success in surgeries has brought the figure down. Now, we are working on spreading public awareness on diabetic retinopathy (DR) and corneal blindness, besides advocating eye donations,” senior ophthalmologist V. Sahaserenamam told reporters here on Thursday.

He also announced details of the three-day 42nd annual conference of Kerala Society of Ophthalmologists Surgeons (KSOS) that begins here on Friday.

KSOS figures indicated that 1.36 lakh cataract surgeries were conducted last year in Kerala compared with over 1.43 lakh till now this year.

“DR cannot be cured completely. Since Kerala has very high prevalence of diabetes, it’s only natural that many Keralites will suffer from DR. Early detection and proper treatment can help bring relief to such patients. Likewise, glaucoma can be tackled through proper treatment,” said Sahaserenamam.

With regards to eye donation, KSOS office-bearers said Kerala was witnessing increase in cadaverous eye donations.

“Last year, as against a target of 1,700 eye donations, we got 2,264 such cases. This year, we have 1,974 cases of eye donations so far,” said ophthalmologist R. Gopal.

KSOS officials said the organisation had taken the responsibility of supplying free spectacles to school children. As many as 22,000 spectacles were distributed last year, and another 17,500 this year.

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