Hospitals see a spike in mature cataract cases

Doctors blame it on patient’s reluctance to visit hospitals

The number of eye-related disorders has increased manifold owing to COVID-19 and the consequent inability and hesitation of the patients to visit hospitals, doctors at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital said.

Amar Agarwal, chairman of the group, told presspersons here on Friday that there had been a five-fold increase in the number of cases of mature cataracts and dry eyes reported in their hospitals after the pandemic.

“In the last quarter of 2019, less than 10% of all cataract patients we saw were suffering from advanced cataracts. This jumped to 50% in the last quarter of 2020 as many people did not get their eyes checked in the early stages of cataract due to the pandemic,” he said.

He said the hospital witnessed worsening of existing cases of glaucoma as patients failed to come up for regular follow-ups.

Ashvin Agarwal, executive director of the group, said there had been many cases of increased morbidity due to lack of timely treatment. “For instance, an elderly person suffered high eye pressure and partial loss of vision after he delayed his cataract surgery,” he said.

Online activities

S. Soundari, head of medical services, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, said the hospital had been seeing an increase in the number of people with computer vision syndrome and dry eyes due to excessive use of gadgets during the pandemic for online meetings, classes and entertainment. “It is important to take a break from looking at the screen every 20 minutes,” she said.

Highlighting that hospitals were taking adequate precautions for COVID-19, Dr. Amar Agarwal urged the people to not delay hospital visits if they faced any issues in their eyes and for regular check-ups.

“Most of our staff have undergone the first round of vaccination. People should not hesitate to visit hospitals as it may significantly worsen their problems,” he said.

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