Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Most patients who came to Dewathang hospital in Samdrupjongkhar to avail an eye outreach operative service are those who have cataract problems.

The service that started on May 15 operated 53 eye patients and treated more than 200 patients until yesterday.

Pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr Dechen Wangmo, said the team spent three days at Muenseling Institute in Khaling, Trashigang, to cater to children in the blind school, update their low vision aids and provide comprehensive eye checkups for their eye problems once a year.

She said most of the students in the blind school could not reach them because of the parent’s stigmatism and social-economic backgrounds.

According to Dr Dechen Wangmo, they tried to help those children after discussing with the health ministry’s primary eye-care programme and the education ministry’s special education unit.

She said they are conducting the eye campaign in Dewathang as people could not come to Thimphu to avail health services related to eyes because of the Covid-19 preventive measures and restrictions.

Dr Dechen Wangmo said most of the patients who came to avail the service were adults who have cataracts and youth who have eye problem because of injury and diabetes. “I operated five children yesterday.”

According to the eye specialist, a cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the eye’s lens, and proteins and fibres in the lens begin to break down, causing vision to become hazy. “Most cataracts develop because of ageing or injury. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery.”

She, however, said some children are born with cataracts as a genetic disease and they should be treated within a few months after the birth.

“I have also operated about 15 people whose both eyes were blind, operating an eye and another eye after a few days. They can now see,” Dr Dechen Wangmo said.

Meanwhile, patients are happy that they availed the service in their locality.

An 80-year-old woman from Orong, Gadhen, said she visited the Samdrupjongkhar hospital as her vision blurred for so long, doctors gave her eye drops as they cannot treat her and advised her to consult with an eye specialist.

“I could not go to Thimphu, but I am happy that I availed the service here,” she said. “Such health campaign is helpful for the needy.”

Another patient, Tumchen, 80, said her vision blurred for more than a year, but couldn’t treat it. “But I am lucky to get eye treatment here. I can now see like others.”

The elder citizen said it would help the rural residents if the government and health ministry could send an ophthalmologist in Dewathang.

The eye camp would end on May 24.