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Excessive use of mobile phones leading to myopia in early age: Dr Gaurav Luthra

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Drishti Eye Institute organises Drishticon-2023 conference

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 9 Apr: Addressing a press conference today, leading Eye Surgeon from Dehradun and co-founder of Drishti Eye Institute, Dr Gaurav Luthra said that excessive use of mobile phones and small gadgets like I-pads and other tabs is causing a large number of myopia cases among the children and young adults. Dr Luthra said that one of the major side effects of digitalisation has been the adverse effects on the eyes.

Dr Luthra was addressing a press conference along with other leading eye surgeons from Uttarakhand and India, including Dr S Natarajan from Mumbai, a Padma Shri awardee, Dr JS Titiyal, Head of RP Centre, AIIMS New Delhi, and also a Padma Shri awardee, Dr Saurabh Luthra from Drishti Eye Institute, Dr Vikas Mittal from Ambala, Dr Smita Mehra and Dr Ashish Kakkar from Dehradun on the occasion of an annual conference titled Drishticon-2023 organised jointly under the aegis of Uttarakhand State Ophthalmological Society, Dehradun Ophthalmological Society and Drishti Eye Institute. This event was held at Hotel Madhuban here today.

Dr Luthra stated that Drishti Eye Institute has been organising an annual Drishticon conference for the past few years to share with the eye surgeons and PG students and the interns, latest advances in the field of Ophthalmology but this annual event could not be held in the past two three years due to Covid pandemic. He added that, in today’s conference, the main topic of the discussion was latest advances and techniques related to cataract, retina and refractive surgery and cornea surgery. In addition, there was a live 3-D video theatre show. During the conference, 3-D video recordings of recent surgeries performed by Dr S Natarajan, Dr JS Titiyal and Dr Luthra were shown to around 100 participants. Dr Luthra said that unlike single dimension video shows, the 3-D videos offers better and precise learning opportunity for the participants. The participants used 3-D glasses to see the video recordings and had felt as if they were physically present during the surgery procedures. The experience was similar to a live surgery demonstration.

Dr Luthra further stated that case studies were also presented during the conference by leading doctors including Dr Titiyal and Dr S Natarjan. He informed that, yesterday, Dr Titiyal inaugurated the latest 3-D Microscope at the Drishti Eye Institute. This microscope, Dr Luthra is intended to replace smaller microscopes which cost only a few lakhs as compared to this microscope which does not require the surgeons performing the eye procedures to look through the eye-piece of the microscope and he can comfortably look at a large monitor with greater precision. Dr Luthra informed that the Dr MC Luthra oration this year was delivered by Dr JS Titiyan, a leading cornea transplant surgeon from AIIMS and a Padma Shri awardee. Dr Titiyan is a native of Dharchula in Kumoan.

In response to a question, Dr Luthra admitted that due to rapidly changing technological advancements in ophthalmology, very costly machines are required to be procured by leading surgeons on a regular basis and this cost burden ultimately falls on the patients with the surgery getting costlier for them. Admitting that this was a challenge for the doctors how to keep the cost of surgery down, he suggested that the government needs to treat ophthalmology equipment at par with life saving medical equipment and minimise customs duty on their import. Besides this, he also suggested interest free or low interest financing of these machines by government banks and financial institutions. He also said that the doctors also often pool their resources to procure expensive equipment and then share their use. He said that Drishti Eye Institute also invites other eye surgeons to perform their procedures at Drishti Eye Institute.

Dr Ashish Kakkar and Dr Smita Mehra stressed upon the importance of having at least two hours of dedicated outdoor activities for the children, the young adults as well as senior persons every day in order to avoid progressive myopia. They added that more cases of myopia in younger children are being reported everyday not only because of excessive use of smaller gadgets like mobile phones, tabs and laptops but also due to lack of outdoor time. Outdoor activity should be encouraged by the parents, they said.