Blind spots: Cataract crisis amplified by lack of medical support awareness

मोतियाबिंद के मरीजों के लिए सर्जरी ही एकमात्र विकल्प नहीं हैं बल्कि इसके अलावा भी कई बचाव के तरीकों को अपनाया जा सकता हैं। उत्तराखंड के पर्वतीय इलाके में मोतियाबिंद के आंकड़े बढ़ते जा रहे है, चलिए जानते है इसके कारण...

Last Updated on May 26, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

The problems related to eyesight are on the rise nowadays, thanks to factors like pollution and changing lifestyles. On one hand, growing pollution in the urban areas affects our eyes, while on the other, the situation is worse because of shortage of resources to deal with the problem. One of the main reasons for such a situation in the villages is lack of awareness among people about eye care.  

According to a report, cataracts are responsible for blindness in both eyes in 50 to 80 percent of cases. Women are at 69 per cent bigger risk than men in having them. One study has said that gender inequality and to some extent, biological factors make women in India 35 per cent more prone to blindness than men.  

High usage of hearth

In several rural areas of India, hearth or wooden stoves are used even today for cooking. Use of dry woods to light them causes intense smoke, which is harmful for the eyes, but people continue with such forms of cooking due to lack of health awareness and unavailability of better means. Since women stay in the kitchen for longer periods, they get exposed to the smoke more and this is one reason why women are at a bigger risk to have cataracts. 

It is very important that we take full care of our eyes. They are sensitive organs and even the slightest injury can cause them serious damage. One of the reasons why a high number of cataract patients is found in the hill areas is because of a lack of adequate eye care. Moreover, the villages mostly comprise elderly people since the younger generation migrate to cities for higher studies or professional reasons.  

Lack of understanding of crisis

When cataracts develop, one’s vision starts getting blurred and one is not able to see much. This can affect both eyes. Sometimes, babies can also be born with cataracts. In simple language, cataracts cause clouding of the normally clear lens of the eyes which affects eyesight. 

When the elderly have difficulty in seeing things, they tend to believe that it is caused by their growing age and often ignore the possibility of having cataracts. One of the reasons behind this is lack of availability of medical facilities. Lack of expert medical advice leaves them unaware of the problem of cataracts and the problem only grows with time. Also, in the hill areas, excessive smoking, diabetes, etc. can worsen the problem of cataracts. 

When cataract affects both eyes

Kalavati Devi, a resident of Saliyakot village in Dhari block of Nainital district said, “I am 56 years old and had cataract in both my eyes. Earlier also, I had problems in my eyes, including pain and blurry vision and they increased since I did not consult a doctor.”

Presently, she is going to Dr Susheela Tiwari government hospital in Haldwani to get her eyes treated. It has been a time-taking and expensive procedure but Kalavati Devi still feels pain in the eyes. People in the hill areas often ignore their health problems due to lack of awareness and inadequate medical facilities but it is high time that they overcome such challenges. 


Mohanchandra Melkani, Principal of Khemram Arya Government Inter College, Paharpani, Nainital, said, “Modernity is slowly penetrating rural life. Excessive use of mobile phones is becoming a concern. Spending long hours staring on the screens are causing various problems in the eyes. Even school students nowadays complain about pain in the eyes and head. Any problem in the eyes can hint at severity and it should not be ignored.”

Opinions from the experts

Dr Sameer

Dr Sameer Verma of Vedanta Netralaya, Haldwani, said, “For the eye’s retina to function well, it is important to have the eye lens clear. If the lens becomes cloudy, then the light cannot go through it properly and as a result, the image of the viewed object which falls on the retina, becomes hazy. This condition of vision impairment is called cataract. It is a condition which only becomes worse. While vision is not affected in the beginning, but slowly the eyesight is affected. The symptoms of cataract include blurred vision, inability to see closer objects in case of elderly people, problems in viewing colours, having double vision, etc.”

Among various factors that worsens the cataract problem include ageing, diabetes, excessive alcoholism and smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, old injury in eyes, past surgery, etc. When one cannot see properly even by using spectacles, then surgery becomes the only option. But doctors avoid advising surgery when cataract can put life at risk. One should not hurry to have a cataract surgery done.”

Cataracts generally do not damage eyes but if you have health conditions such as diabetes, then do not delay in getting them treated. One should have regular eye check-ups after 40; use sunglasses when going out in the sun; reduce drinking and smoking. It is also important to have a balanced food diet including green vegetables. Eat fruits that are rich in Vitamin C and A since they contain anti-oxides. If you have diabetes, then go for a proper treatment and keep your weight under control.”

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