Childhood Cataract: A Socio-Clinical Study at a Public Sector Tertiary Eye Care Centre in India

Authors : Deepak Jugran

Volume/Issue : Volume 7 - 2022, Issue 6 - June

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To study the demographic, sociological and clinical profile of the children presented for childhood cataract at a public sector tertiary eye care centre in India. Methodology: The design of the study is retrospective and hospital-based. Data available with the Central Registration Department of the PGIMER, Chandigarh was used. The majority of the childhood cataract cases are being reported in this hospital, yet not each and every case of childhood cataract approaches PGI, Chandigarh. Nevertheless, this study is going to be pioneering research in India covering five-year data of the childhood cataract patients who visited the Advanced Eye Centre, PGIMER, Chandigarh from 1.1.2015 to 31.12.2019. The SPSS version 23 was used for all statistical calculations. Results: 354 children were presented for childhood cataract screening and treatment from 1.1.2015 to 31.12.2019. Of 354 children, 248 (70%) were male, and 106 (30%) were female. Further, out of these 354 children registered in the special clinics, 42 were incorrectly registered for childhood cataract. Therefore, the final number children registered in 5 yearswas 312. Despite two flagship programmes by the Govt. of India, namely the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) and Aayushman Bharat (PM-JAY), for eradicating cataract-related blindness, only nine children received financial assistance from the Govt of India and only 1 from Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY). Out of 312 patients, 99 children (31.73%) reached late at the hospital, and 39 children did not continue their treatment, mainly due to poverty and transport-related issues. A whopping 99% of these children belong to lowincome families. Out of 39 children who discontinued their treatment, 24 were male, and 15 were female. In most of these families, the mothers were housewives and did not work anywhere. We intend to convey these results to the Govt. of India to evolve a suitable mechanism to address pertinent issues hindering the treatment of children suffering from childhood cataract. Further, the disproportionate ratio of male and female children in this study is an area of concern as it is difficult to assess whether the prevalence of childhood cataract is lower in female children or they are not being presented on time in the hospital by the families. Conclusion: The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized Childhood blindness resulting from cataract as a priority area and urged all member countries to develop institutionalized mechanisms for its early detection, diagnosis and management. The childhood cataract is an emerging and major cause of preventable and avoidable childhood blindness, especially in low and middle-income countries. In the formative years, the children require a sound physical, mental and emotional state and in the absence of either one of them, it can severely dent their future growth. The recent estimate suggests that India could suffer an economic loss of US$12 billion (Rs. 88,000 Crores) due to blindness and almost 35% of cases of blindness are preventable and avoidable if detected at an early age. Besides reporting these results to the policy makers, synchronized efforts are also needed for early detection and management of avoidable causes of childhood blindness such as childhood cataract.

Keywords : childhood cataract, WHO, blindness, NPCB, Ayushman Bharat.


Paper Submission Last Date
31 - March - 2024

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