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Consanguineous marriages lead to blindness in early age: Expert

Written by: Staff

Bhopal, Mar 5 (UNI) The tradition of marriage between blood relatives in southern states has increased the danger of blindness in early age among younger generation.

''Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) generally runs among youths in the family where there are consanguineous marriages,'' National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (Chennai) research officer Arivardhan told reporters from the Madhya Pradesh capital who had gone on a PIB-sponsored tour to southern states.

He said 40-42 per cent people in the country suffer from some sort of blindness. Most of them are cataract patients followed by RP, in which youths are affected by blurred vision when they are around 20 years old. By the time they turn 35, they lose vision entirely.

''Consanguineous marriages are prevalent in southern India -- Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Pondicherry -- in some Hindu castes besides Muslims,'' he said.

Clarifying that not all people marrying in blood relations are affected by RP, Mr Arivardhan said most people do get affected.

''The statistics available with the institute reveal that number of such patients are found mostly in Andhra Pradesh followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,'' he said.

The research officer lamented that people deliberately ignore diseases arising out of consanguineous marriages and fail to approach doctors even after getting blurred vision until the disease goes out of control.

He added that people will have to check their inclination towards marriages within blood relations besides consuming nutritious food and increasing intake of Vitamin A.


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