Cousin marriages linked to blindness, Low sugar intake can help prevent sight loss

Rawalpindi: Cousin marriages and diabetes are two major causes of sight disorders and blindness which is growing with a fast pace in Pakistan, a leading eye-care hospital said Tuesday.

The high incidence of the inherited disease included blindness is due to the common practice of blood-related marriages, said President of Al-Shifa Trust Lt Gen (R) Hamid Javaid.

Speaking at an awareness session, he said that many families prefer consanguineous marriage despite knowing the negative impact on the generations to come.

More awareness needs to be created about the disease and the pitfall of cousin marriage; he said adding that pre-marital testing can help reduce risks associated with the trend.

There are economic, social and cultural factors including clan solidarity, interpersonal compatibility, preservation of family property, social protection for women etc. which are supporting marriages within the families, Hamid Javaid informed.

He said that the habit of consuming a good quantity of carbohydrate-rich food can cause problems such as blindness. Suggesting limiting intake of sugar, he said that high amount of glucose result in inflammation and harms the retina and the capillaries that supply blood to the eyes.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Tariq Usman, in charge of the free eye camps said that Al-Shifa Trust has treated 65000 patients in last five months in the free eye camps set up across Pakistan.

Over 600 patients with visual disorders were operated while 5851 glasses were also provided to the deserving; he said adding that we treated a record 86000 patients last year in 85 different free eye camps which make Al-Shifa one of largest outreach eye care program in the country.

Dr. Tariq Usman informed that apart from the major operations, various other eye operations were conducted like squint, cataract, and oculoplastic surgery etc.

He informed that we have established a center in the name of Light House where all those patients are rehabilitated that cannot be treated through surgery and medication.

For this, he said, we use high tech magnifying and speech output devices and state-of-the-art computer technology so that visually impaired and blind people can live normal lives.