By 2030, 275 million Indians could be affected by dry eye disease, with as many as fifty percent of city dwellers projected to be afflicted. At present, between ten and fifteen percent of Indians could be affected by dry eye disease according to Dr Amar Agarwal, chairperson and managing director of the Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital chain.
The condition, which in its most severe forms can lead to blindness, results from dysfunctional activity of tear glands preventing lubrication and moistness of the eye. This results in the titular dryness, manifest in symptoms such as irritation, red eyes, itching, and visual impairment. In this state, the eye is vulnerable to infections due to a diminished capacity to rid the eye of pathogens. The resultant infections can potentially result in blindness.
“Some of the major factors that have made dry eye a common and often chronic problem are the conditions of modern lifestyles where people stare at computer or mobile phone screens for long periods of time without blinking regularly,” explained Agarwal at the launch.
The facility at the hospital is equipped with technology for the treatment of dry eye disease such as intense regulated pulsed light (IRPL), a non-invasive treatment which stimulates the meibomian glands responsible for preventing the evaporation of the eye’s tear film. Dysfunction of the meibomian glands is the cause of evaporative dry eye disease, the most common form of the condition.
Facilities such as the dry eye suite at Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital are a boon in a country where millions are affected by the syndrome and where more than sixty million people live with visual impairment. In a country where visual impairment is a challenge, embracing new technologies in the fight against ophthalmological illnesses is vital according to Agarwal.
Of the Eye Hospitals, he said “as we set foot into our 63rd year of existence, having served in excess of five million patients globally, we remain committed to making eye care easier, better and more precise. This primarily means placing a very special emphasis on quality eye care, and introducing newer techniques.”