In, World Congress on Ocular Trauma, Opthalmologists Meet to Prevent Eye-Injuries, Submit Petition to Regulate Fire Crackers

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New Delhi, December 17 : A World Congress on Ocular Trauma, organised by Ocular Trauma Society of India in collaboration with International Society of Ocular Trauma, Chinese Ocular Trauma Society and Asia-Pacific Opthalmic Trauma Society, was held on Sarurday here to discuss ways tk lrwvent eye injuries.

Among the eminent people present there were Dr A K Grover, Chairman, Organising Committee, Dr Sanjiv Mohan

Organising Secretary, Dr G Mukherjee, President , Ocular Trauma Society of India (OTSI), Dr Mehul Shah, Hony. General Secretary, OTSI, Dr S Natarajan

President, All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS), Dr Shaloo Bageja, Treasurer, organising committee and Dr Prashant Bawankule, Treasurer, OTSI, among others.

The Congress highlighted the enormous problem of blindness caused by eye injuries and the ways to prevent it. The call by various International Eye Care organisations to regulate the use of firecrackers to prevent the unnecessary loss is the highlight of the congress.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data suggests that 55 million serious eye injuries take place every year worldwide. Seven lakh 50 thousand cases require hospitalisation every year. There are 1.6 million ocular trauma related blind persons all over the world and 2.3 million with bilateral low vision. Data from a large survey in South India showed a life time prevalence of ocular trauma at 4.5%.

Data from National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in India shows injury related visual disability to be 51/thousand population.

The important fact that needs emphasis is that 90% of these injuries are preventable. There is a huge lot that needs to be done to handle this problem. Important steps in prevention must include public education with targeted emphasis for special groups such as industrial workers, sports persons and armed forces. There is a great need to spread awareness regarding loss caused by crackers, gulli danda and teer kaman in our country.

The organising committee chairman, Dr A K Grover, chairman, Deptt of Ophthalmology , Sir Ganga Ram Hospital emphasised that a much greater effort will be needed in advocacy to create more public awareness and to sensitise governments if this goal is to be achieved. We need better data by developing registries and surveys to define the problem, he stressed.

Dr. S. Natrajan, President, Asia-Pacific Opthalmic Trauma Society, said, “Unfortunately, we have many kind of eye injuries which caused be caused due to me crackers in Diwali or other festivals like Holi when young adults use harmful colours. Then there injuries caused while sports or a mishap in a factory. However, all such injuries are preventable. Also, we have conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure which could potentially cause eye-disease. Hence we want the government to regulate crackers which are one of the main causes of eye-injuries”

Dr. Rupesh Agarwal, Secretary-General Asia-Pacific Opthalmic Trauma Society, said, “People are having eye injuries due to different reasons and here we have world renowned experts who are giving their opinions and guidelines and how do we manage ocular trauma.  One of the message here is prevention of ocular trauma and we are very keen on working closely with the media. One of the common causes of an eye injury is a fire cracker injury. Mostly these eye injuries are happening to young adults. Such injuries have the potential to make someone blind.”

Dr G Mukherjee, president, Ocular Trauma Society of India pointed out that a lot of legislative steps are necessary for prevention of eye injuries. Disability definition and compensation laws need better attention.

Dr Sanjiv Mohan, organising secretary of the meeting stressed that there is a need to improve management of ocular trauma by its recognition as a distinct subspeciality. The emphasis on education of Ocular Trauma during residency needs to be improved. Subspeciality fellowship programs in Ocular trauma need to be started.

The organising committee put together a rich scientific programme at this World Congress of Ocular Trauma, thanks to the enthusiastic participation of 33 eminent international and 85 national faculty representing all parts of the World. The program deals with all aspects of Ocular trauma – epidemiology, prevention, advocacy, regulations, legislations, warfare and trauma involving all subspecialities of ophthalmology.

Symposia, instruction courses, workshops, wet labs , panel discussions, debates and extensive audience participation are the halmarks of the programme. Free papers and videos on widely varying subjects add to the richness of the programme.

The World Congress emphasised that a vigorous renewed effort is needed to prevent the unnecessary loss by prevention of eye injuries. A petition signed by over 250 eye surgeons from across the globe is being presented to the government The call by various International EyeCare organisations to regulate the use of firecrackers to prevent the unnecessary loss is the subject of the representation.

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