Matured cataract the most common cause for failing vision

 Health: Daza, 70, was losing her vision to cataract.  Her vision blurred with age, and she had difficulty recognising people.  Everyday, the woman from Dewathang worried about going blind soon.

She was not alone.  Almost all of the 50 other people from Samdrupjongkhar and neighbouring dzongkhags had suffered similar matured cataract, or a condition before a person turns blind.

An eye surgery mobile unit from the JDWNRH on a three-day camp restored their vision, dispelling all worries about darkness engulfing their lives.

Doctors said such large scale infection was unexpected, and that it showed a lack of awareness.

Ophthalmologist Dr Ngawang Tenzin said, of the 52 patients, 34 were treated for cataract, and the rest for minor issues.

Dr Ngawang Tenzin said a person suffering from matured cataract wouldn’t take long to go blind. “Most patients hadn’t visited a hospital, considering it as an age-old disease,” he said.

He said the common symptoms are diminishing and blurred distance vision and being able to perceive only light or hand movements.

Such disease is said to be “mostly common in rural Himalayan parts.”

His team had come to follow up, after receiving a list of people who needed eye surgery from His Majesty’s medical mobile unit. The unit had conducted eye-screening tests earlier.

The team, consisting of two ophthalmologists and two technicians also treated patients not on the list.

This was the first camp in Samdrupjongkhar and people from neighbouring dzongkhags also visited the camp.

Following  the surgery camp the team also conducted eye check-ups for  students and local residents.

Meanwhile, Daza is ecstatic. “It’s good that I came for the surgery because my eyes feel clean and I can see even a mosquito,” she said, heading home after the surgery.

To conduct another camp, the team moves to Jomotsangkha dungkhag today, where more than 30 patients are expected.

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar