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New Delhi : The Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu on July 29, 2018, said that the Eye donation after death is the noblest act and such voluntary effort can alleviate blindness and restore vision in those with corneal blindness.

Naidu was addressing the Ocular Surface and Keratoprosthesis Conference (OSKON) 2018, organised by Shankara Netralaya, in Chennai. Governor of Tamil Nadu Banwarilal Purohit,  Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Tamil Nadu, Dr C Vijaya Baskar, Minister for Fisheries and Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Tamil Nadu, D Jayakumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that main cause of blindness include cataract (62.6%), Refractive Error (19.70%), Corneal Blindness (0.90%), and Glaucoma (5.80%), among others and added that blindness from Glaucoma can be prevented if diagnosed and treated early. He called for affordable eye care facilities to treat Cataract, Glaucoma and other ophthalmological problems. The need of the hour is to ensure that these services are available in rural areas particularly the remote parts of the country, he added, according to a PIB release.

The Vice President appreciated the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit, a brain child of Dr Badrinath, the founder of Sankara Netralaya, and IIT Madras, and said that such systems would take operation theatre to the doorstep in remote rural India. This concept should be replicated in other parts of the country and private eye care services should take a lead in this regard, he added.

The Vice President said it was painful for him to learn about a lot of freak accidents with the chuna used in Pan. It is unfortunate that chemical injuries to the eye form an important cause of severe corneal blindness, he added.

The Vice President also stressed on the need to take up promotional campaigns in every nook and corner of the country to make sure that chuna is no longer packed in flimsy polythene packets. Ensuring the safety of our country’s children should be our utmost priority and all measures will have to be taken to ensure safer packaging of the chunambu, he added.

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