TN Governor calls for concerted effort to treat blindness

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Chennai, Aug 9 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Governor S S Barnala has called for a concerted efforts to treat curable blindess.

Inaugurating the 56th Tamil Nadu Opthalmic Association and third OASIS Conference-- 'Vision-2008' here last evening, he said India has the largest number of blind people in the world with every fifth blind person in the world being an Indian.

He said about 20 million people were blind and an equal number visually handicapped.

He said 50 to 60 per cent of blindness was caused due to cataract, ten per cent due to refractive errors, 17 per cent by diabetic retinopathy, ten per cent because of corneal blidness, six per cent due to Glaucoma and three per cent each due to macular degeneration and eye injuries.

Though efforts by the Central and state governments and voluntary organisations have reduced blindness caused due to cataract to a great extent, there should be sincere efforts to address other aspects of curable blindness.

Observing that another major problem being faced today was corneal blidness, Mr Barnala said young children were affected by this.

''Stepping up of eye banks and procurement of more donor corneas should be made as the presence of 230 eye banks in India and about 25,000 transplant surgeries being carried out per year is not sufficient.'' Stating that diabetic retinopathy was on the increase even in rural areas, the Governor appealed to Tamil Nadu Opthalmic Association to take up the responsibility and set itself as a role model to other states in reaching out to those people in villages who required eye care by organising awareness programmes on the cause of vision problems.

Later, Mr Barnala presented the Lifetime Achievement awards to Dr Babu Rajendran and Dr Velayutham in recognition of their contribution to eye care. The award carries a gold medal and a certificate.

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