Vitamin A deficiency has resulted in blindness among children in a big way in the North Eastern parts of India, a study has found.
As much as 51.6 per cent of the children in the schools for the blind in that region have become blind over a period of time only because of vitamin-related problems. Effective primary eye care intervention can certainly prevent such a fate befalling the poor of the North East, a study reveals.
There is a singular lack of availability of medicines to meet the situation. Worse awareness level leaves a lot to be desired, says Srimanta Sankaradeva Nethralaya, a premier eye care institution that conducted the study.
It also expressed concern at the lack of specialist pediatric and ophthalmic services in the North Eastern region. There should be at least one well-equipped child eye care centre for every 10 million population, it stresses.
The study revealed that another area of concern was the supply of pure drinking water and sanitation. If only these areas were improved along with an increase of awareness of parents, 48.94 percentage of blindness could be prevented.
Dr Harsha Bhattacharjee, the medical director of Nethralaya and who led the investigations, says that among children attending blind schools, corneal blindness was the most common cause and the major preventable cause identified during the study.