Written by Dr Mahipal S Sachdev
The psycho-social impact of COVID-19 is affecting the mental health of many people. But there are other hidden, seemingly avoidable health issues that can lead to irreparable damages if neglected. One such issue that needs special mention is ocular health. Eye diseases are often present silently, be it glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.
All eye OPDs are now seeing a sudden surge of patients coming with advanced stages of cataract, loss in vision due to glaucoma, or even with severe bleeds inside the eye. The pitfall is that patients are landing up with irreversible vision losses and increased probabilities of complicated surgeries and procedures. People are readily ignoring ominous symptoms and signs such as red-eye, blurred vision, or floaters and even tolerating pains and photosensitivity. It only gets worse when they try to treat them with home remedies or even self-medication.
Ophthalmologists across the globe have witnessed a dip of approximately 30 per cent in their regular patients who have cited the pandemic, the subsequent lockdown, and the scare of the second wave amongst their top reasons for missing their appointment.
Another reason behind the deteriorating ocular health of people at large is increased screen time. People working from home are spending way too much time on screens than they previously did. Being connected for almost 12-16 hours a day definitely comes with a set of perils. Crumbling sleeping patterns have also added to the woes of the patients.
What to do?
Patients must understand that caregivers are taking all necessary precautions to ensure that the safety of the patients does not get compromised under any circumstances. Hospitals that are accepting COVID patients have segregated and isolated the section of the hospital where they are being treated. Therefore, do not delay treatment.
(The author is managing director, Centre for Sight)
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