One in every ten school-age children faces vision issues that can impact their learning ability, personality, and adjustment in school if not treated on time.
Chief of Medical Services Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital, Dr. Wajid Ali Khan, said this while talking to a group of journalists. He said that eye infections are very common in children. They can lead to serious conditions owing to the lack of awareness and healthcare facilities.
Khan advised that parents and teachers should look out for signs of vision problems among children to ensure timely treatment, as healthy eyes are crucial for the kids’ development.
He said that seasonal changes bring a lot of infections that cause a corneal ulcer, conjunctivitis, redness, hordeolum, swelling, and dry eyes. These conditions usually go unnoticed and when people finally visit doctors for symptoms of diseases, it is usually too late.
Khan suggested making vision screening a part of a child’s routine check-ups even if there are no apparent problems. Vision problems are not prominent and the best way to identify issues on time is through vision screening.
“I will strongly recommend screening at the school level that can prevent blindness and other associated problems,” he added. He told that many conditions and diseases can affect a child’s vision, so it is wise to get every new-born checked thoroughly at the age of 14 days.
He added that a delay could cause permanent blindness, as one of the main problems in children’s treatment is non-availability of trained doctors. Therefore, Al Shifa has started a program to train doctors and paramedics at home while providing the facility to doctors from countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Around 0.9 percent population, i.e., two million in Pakistan is blind, mostly from preventable or curable blindness.