Sankara Nethralaya to create awareness on kids buying chunnambu

By P T Usha Published on Jul 25, 2018 03:13 PM IST

Sankara Nethralaya managing director Dr K S Vasan, consultants - Dr Shweta Agarwal, Dr Geetha Krishnan Iyer, senior consultants - Dr Bhaskar Srinivasan and Dr Prema Padmanabhan during the media brief event of OSKON 2018 in Chennai on Tuesday.

Chennai: Next time, before sending your child to buy 'chunnambu', be careful, parents! The child may handle the chunnambu playfully and carelessly and encounter a lifetime of blindness.

It will be decided at the third OSKON (Ocular Surface and Keratoprosthesis Conference), to be conducted by Sankara Nethralaya from 27 to 29 July, to launch a nationwide awareness campaign against the availability of chunnambu in plastic sachets for betel chewing.

The conference will also discuss the latest treatment modalities and advanced technology in the field of ophthalmology.

Dr Geetha Krishnan Iyer of Sankara Nethralaya told mediapersons Tuesday about the importance of the campaign and the effects and causes of eye ocular surface condition.

She said, "For any eye, the conjunctiva, cornea and retina has to work in a perfect combination. If any of them gets affected, then the patient might encounter dry eyes, corneal damage, stem cell deficiency, etc, which are together called ocular surface condition."

Talking about the anti-chunnambu campaign, the ophthalmologist said, "In India, people still have the habit of chewing betel with chunnambu after lunch. So, they mostly send their children to buy those chunnambu packets. Without knowing the effect of its chemical reactions, the children play with them with bare hands and eventually puncture the packets. This when get into their eyes, there is a chance of permanent vision loss. In this case, there is less chance of bringing the vision back. If one eye is affected, stem cell transplant and corneal transplant operations are performed. When both eyes are affected artificial corneal transplant made of plastic is done."

Talking about chemical injuries, she said, "Eyes are damaged by a number of chemicals. The major cause is accidents encountered with sanitary items like acid cleaners, accidents in chemical factories, vitriolage (acid) attack, etc. Another condition called Steve Johnson syndrome is caused due to allergic reactions due to medication."

The valedictory, be held at Taj Coromandel, will be addressed by Indian VIce-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Minister of Health and Family Welfare, C Vijayabaskar.


What leads to dryness in eyes

News Today had a brief discussion about the condition and campaign with the medical experts - senior consultant, Dr Geetha Iyer, and Dr Bhaskar Srinivasan, and consultant, Dr Shweta Agarwal.

What causes ocular surface condition?

 The lifestyle condition like prolonged work with computers, especially in air-conditioned room which is the major reason for dryness. The eye liquid soon evaporates in these conditions. Moreover, dandruff in hair and eyelashes, pollution, diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can also cause dryness in eyes.

Is the chunnambu effect the same for adults?

Yes. The effect is the same for everyone. However, children are very playful and due to carelessness, they get affected more.