Correcting squints and poor vision are all in a day’s work for Dr Ritika Sachdev, who does between eight and 10 such surgeries a week.
“Squint surgeries are the most common in children, while Lasik surgery for correcting refractive errors to do away with the need for glasses is the most common among people aged between 18 and 30 years,” says Dr Sachdev, additional director of medical services, Centre for Sight chain of eye hospitals.
At the Safdarjung Enclave centre, at least 20-25 surgeries to correct refractive errors are done in a week. Another 50-100 surgeries to treat cataract are performed per week.
Squint and refractive errors are the commonest causes of visual impairment. If one eye has squint, it may see less and become a condition called lazy eye, wherein the stronger eye takes over the weaker eye. This could look unappealing. Surgical correction to tighten loose muscles is an option, and there are special glasses that are available for children with squint.
Doctors advise a thorough eye examination before a child enters school at the age of three. A simple chart-reading test from a distance of about six metres can detect defect in the eye-sight.
Lasik, a laser surgery, is commonly available to fix the power of the lens.
Lasik reshapes cornea that reduces the need for wearing glasses for vision correction. Lasik treats tissue of the cornea and reshapes it in a manner that reduces myopia (minus power), hyperopia (plus power) and astigmatism (cylindrical power).
“A person’s power stabilises around 18 years, before that there is no point of fixing eye power as it will keep changing as the child grows,” said Dr Ajay Sharma, chairman, Eye-Q super specialty eye hospitals.
A leading cause of blindness among older adults (above 60 years) is cataract. In India, 60% of blindness among the elderly is due to cataract. It develops a decade earlier in people here as compared to those in the West.
Surgery is the only way to treat cataract. “It is an eminently treatable condition with surgery that is getting refined every day. The technology is improving rapidly and there are lenses available that result in a better quality of vision,” said Dr Sachdev.
A sophisticated mode of surgery, femtosecond, does not require a blade to make an incision. Rather, the flap is lifted using a laser, and the faulty lens is broken into pieces, sucked out and replaced with a foldable lens.
Diabetic retinopathy, wherein the retina gets damaged due to long-standing diabetes, is the second most common eye problem seen among elders. Doctors advise all diabetics to get their eyes checked once every six months.
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) that is of two types — dry and wet — is another reason why the elderly flock to eye centres.
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