In a rare case a 15 year old girl in Karnataka loses her vision due to decorative plants. Ambika Huliappa was working in a private factory which exports ornamental plants. Isopropyl alcohol for decontamination seems to be the reason for the loss of vision.
An 8th std school dropout was working in a chemical plant factory at Chikbidrakalu near Dasarahalli a month ago for a salary of Rs 1,700. she had to plant freshly cut stems of different household plants in bottles. For decontamination, the workers are asked to apply isopropyl alcohol. 'Some rays are focussed on plants to kill the germs. We are supposed to wear glasses while entering the room where the plants are kept. Sometimes, the glasses are not given to the workers and we are exposed to isopropyl alcohol fumes,' she said.
A sole earning member of the family of five she quit her job at a garment factory and took employment at the ornamental plants factory as the salary was higher here. But within a month of joining here she has lost her vision. '20 days after I started working, I would vomit whatever I ate and I could not see anything. My vision is lost,' she said.
According to the medical report from Nethradhama super-speciality eye hospital, where Ambika was treated, she continued to have 'ill-sustained pupullary reaction' in both eyes. 'Her vision - when she was brought in - was counting finger close to the face in the right eye and the left eye had deteriorated. Fundus examination revealed optic atrophy is both the eyes.'
According to NIMHANS, she was presented with history of rapidly progressive visual loss for five days and near total loss of vision since three days.
The family has approached the Karnataka State Commission for Women, which has filed a case against the factory. 'We will hear the case on September 9 and direct the factory owner to pay her compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act,' commission chairperson Pramila Nesargi said.