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Half a million women in Pakistan suffer from blindness due to cataracts

The Al-Shifa Trust (AST) said on Thursday that there are at least 2.2 billion blind or visually impaired people in the world and the complication may have been avoided in at least 1 billion of these cases.

Vision impairment is four times higher in low- and middle-income areas than in high-income areas and according to WHO estimates, vision impairment results in an annual global productivity loss of $411 billion, posing a significant financial burden.

The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment is higher in females than males; presently, almost half a million women in Pakistan are suffering from blindness and vision problems. impairment, said Brig. (R) Prof. Dr. Sabihuddin, Head of the Cataract Department at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi.

In a ceremony to celebrate June as Cataract Awareness Month, Brig. (R) Prof. Dr. Sabihuddin said that AST annually performs 52 thousand surgeries, free of charge.

He added that the government should step up, as existing facilities are insufficient to handle the influx of eye patients.

He noted that, with the rising population and an increase in average age, the number of cataract patients is increasing in the country, and a large number of women have blindness as they have no access to eye facilities.

According to Dr. Sabihuddin, Pakistan is one of the top countries when it comes to diabetes, which is also driving up the rate of eye disease. He said cataracts are age-related degeneration and cannot be controlled.

Therefore, the government should strengthen the eye departments in all state-run hospitals, including those established at the district level, and support all such initiatives.

He added that AST performs almost 100 to 120 surgeries daily, it has thirty air-conditioned operation theaters, twenty-five expert doctors, six anesthetists, and state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities.

He stated that the outreach program frequently organizes surgical camps in remote areas, conducting almost 100 surgeries daily.

“We have the best facilities and expert doctors to treat the complicated cases,” he said, adding that ophthalmology and cataract surgery are the largest departments of the hospital, providing specialized care to patients with different conditions.

Dr. Sabihuddin said AST has all the latest technologies and expertise, and our hospitals in Sukkar, Kohat, Muzaffarabad, and Chakwal are performing 52 thousand cataract surgeries annually, free of charge.

He announced that the Cataract Department has completed one million surgeries since its founding.

Resource Generation and Communication Department of AST, Cataract Surgery and General Ophthalmology Department organized an activity in which students from the School of Public Health and Department of Optometry, Pakistan Institute of Ophthalmology participated.

Staff members and media personnel also attended the cataract awareness event. Ms. Suman Hammad, GM of Resource Generation and Communication at the trust, also participated in the event.


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