KARACHI, Mar 14: An estimated 1.5 million people with visual disabilities in Pakistan, out of 40 to 45 million total, are causing an annual loss of Rs 63 billion in term of loss of productivity.
It is projected that by the year 2020, there will be about 54 million blind persons with the age of 60 worldwide. These views were expressed by senior members of Ophthalmological Society of Pakistan (OSP) during a Press Conference held at PMA House here on Tuesday.
The press conference was held to share the details of upcoming 34th Annual Karachi Ophthalmic Conference, which is being held from March 16 to 18 in Karachi.
The press conference was presided over by OSP President Prof Shahid Wahab. Prof P S Mahar, President-Elect of the Society Dr Qazi Wasiq, General Secretary, OSP were also present.
Dr Wasiq, in his address, informed that the leading cause of blindness in Pakistan includes cataract, trachoma and glaucoma, corneal opacity, macular degeneration and refractive errors.
According to the National Blindness Survey, the prevalence of blindness was 1 percent, which means that at least 1.5 million Pakistanis are blind of both eyes. Fortunately, about 80 percent of the prevalent causes of blindness in Pakistan are either avoidable or can be helped with optical devices, such as spectacles or low vision aids.
Giving details of the Study, Dr Qazi said that it was estimated that at least seven million people in world become blind each year with over 70 percent having vision resorted with treatment. The number of blind people is increasing by up two million per year.
He further revealed that Cataract accounted for an estimated 16 million cases of blindness worldwide and it accounted for approximately half of all cases in most countries of Asia and Africa. Trachoma is the second and Glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness worldwide, whereas diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in economically developed societies.
Dr Wahab, OSP President and an Ophthalmologist at the Civil Hospital Karachi, speaking about Glaucoma, said “An eye disorder in which the optic nerve is damaged leads to permanently damaging vision in the affected eye and progressing to complete blindness if untreated.