According to the study, the practice of usage of traditional eye medicines (TEMs) or steroids is rampant among the rural population.
New Delhi: Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) conducted a survey in 25 randomly selected clusters of rural Gurgaon in Haryana as part of the cornea opacity rural epidemiological (Core) study.
Researchers found respondents practise self-medication, steroid, expired/unlabelled and indigenous eye drops and applying kajal, honey, ghee and rose water for relief of ocular symptoms without accessing the health care system.
“A total of 2,160 respondents were contacted of which nearly one-fifth reported use of ophthalmic medicines without consulting an ophthalmologist, mainly for symptoms such as watering (37.1 per cent), redness (27.7 per cent), itching (19.2 per cent) and infection (13.6 per cent). Usage of TEMs also results in redness of the eye with discharge; painful eyes; foreign body sensation; diminution of vision and burning of the eyes,” said the study published in the latest edition of journal PlOS One.
Doctors involved with the survey said that use of TEMs is recognised as an important contributory factor for development as well as for delayed or complicated presentation of corneal ulcer cases, especially in among the rural population.
According to the study, the practice of usage of traditional eye medicines (TEMs) or steroids is rampant among the rural population. Experts said that usage of TEMs not only cause eye infection but can also result in blindness.
Indiscriminate use of such medicines and steroids can result in corneal blindness. It is the main cause of blindness after cataract, they added.
“Rampant use of steroid eye drops without prescription along with use of expired or unlabelled eye drops warrants greater emphasis on safe eye care practices in this population. There is a need for public awareness to decrease harmful effects arising due to such practices,” the report added.
The reasons for not utilising ophthalmic care were included distant location of the hospital, economic constraints, objections raised by family members, satisfactory treatment provided by traditional healers among others, the doctors said.