India eliminates key eye disease

India eliminates key eye disease

India eliminates key eye disease The survey carried out by ophthalmologists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that th

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India eliminates key eye disease

The survey carried out by ophthalmologists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that the prevalence is 0.7% in India. (Image for representation)

The survey carried out by ophthalmologists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that the prevalence is 0.7% in India. (Image for representation)

India has eliminated infective trachoma – a leading cause of blindness in the world.

The health ministry’s latest trachoma survey report (2014-17) showed that the disease’s overall prevalence was way below the World Health Organisation’s elimination criterion – which is less than 5% in children under 10 years of age.

The survey carried out by ophthalmologists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) showed that the prevalence is 0.7% in India.

Trachoma is a chronic infective eye disease and a leading cause of blindness globally. Caused by poor environmental and personal hygiene, and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation, the disease affects the conjunctiva under eyelids. Repeated infections can cause damage to the cornea and blindness. It was the most important cause of corneal blindness in India, affecting children.

The disease was found common in certain pockets of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Nicobar Islands. Trachoma infection of the eyes was the most important cause of blindness in India in 1950s and over 50% of them were in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

“The survey results indicate that active trachoma is no longer a public health problem in India. This has been possible due to better availability of antibiotic eye drops, improvement of personal hygiene and better access to safe water and sanitation,” Union Health Minister J P Nadda announced here on Friday.

The surveillance of trachoma would continue to check for any fresh cases and to treat them promptly so that the country could be completely free of trachoma, he said.

The survey was conducted in 27 high-risk districts across 23 states and union territories. While surveys were conducted in 10 districts that were previously hyper-endemic, trachoma rapid assessment surveys (TRA) were done in 17 other districts.

Under the survey, 1,9662 children in 1-9 year age group were examined by doctors. In addition, 44,135 people in the age group of more than 15 years were also examined.

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