Rawalpindi - Eye related problems have been estimated to triple globally in the next three decades with developing nations taking a major hit, therefore, efforts are needed to prevent the looming crisis.

According to WHO, 2.2 billion people around the world live with vision impairment or blindness in which one billion people have conditions that could have been prevented, said President Al-Shifa Trust General (r) Rehmat Khan.

He said that almost two million people were prone to eye-related diseases in Pakistan while eighty percent of them could be cured with timely intervention.

Briefing media on World Sight Day, a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment, he said that one of the major obstacles in providing eye care to the needy is lack of the required facilities.

He said that Al-Shifa is trying its best to serve as many patients as possible with a focus on children. Responding to questions, he said that we have taken a new initiative for getting eye donations from the US and Canada. “Presently, around 60 operations for eye transplant are being conducted per month and we plan to enhance the number of transplants to 100 in the next six months,” he maintained.

An eye transplant cost about Rs120,000 but we have categorised such operations into three groups. We try to conduct 20 eye transplants free of cost, next 20 are subsidised while 20 donations are provided to those people can bear dues, he added.

He further said that Al-Shifa has also planned to set up small eye treatment units in remote areas to provide state of the art eye treatment facilities.

We are spreading awareness regarding different eye diseases through a variety of eye camps, awareness sessions and an active presence on all social media platforms.

This year, we arranged school screening sessions in 18 schools in twin cities along with an additional eye camp at Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi so that maximum people can be provided the facility.

President of the hospital, General (Retd) Rehmat Khan along with Executive Director Brigadier (Retd) Rizwan Ullah Asghar visited schools and had one on one interactive sessions with children, talking about the importance of eye care.