The incidence of eye cancer is increasing in Pakistan calling for early detection, diagnosis and proper treatment, an eye specialist at a leading hospital said on Tuesday.
Almost 30 per cent of eye cancer patients are children. This is an alarming development that needs an urgent and well-thought-out response, according to an expert of Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital.
More than 2,200 people are diagnosed with eye cancer annually and the number is growing therefore the trust has established a Cancer Eye Clinic to provide assistance to the needy, said Dr Professor Tayyab Afghani, Consultant and head of department, Orbit and Oculoplastic Department, Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital.
He said timely detection can save a person’s sight but the failure to consult an eye specialist in the early stage allows the disease to spread and the problem gets complicated. With the passage of time and in most eye cancer patients may suffer vision loss, loss of an eye or in some patients, cancer may prove fatal.
Eye problems should not be taken lightly and a doctor must be consulted without delay. In most cases patients are brought to hospitals only when they are in the final stages of the disease, he added.
Dr Afghani said most of the children suffering from eye cancer belong to poor families living in remote areas. In their case, their parents and elders are unaware of the specialised facilities needed to provide treatment and a cure as specialised eye hospitals are not located near them.
He said at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital that there are five specialists available to provide assistance to people suffering from eye cancer. However, he added that the programme needs to be expanded to reach and provide relief to the maximum number of patients.
Some tumours are incurable, while others may severely disfigure eyes requiring complex surgical procedures, he said, adding that many eye injuries due to accidents require plastic surgery but the eye problems due to cancer need more time and effort to be treated.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2021.
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