Beijing, Aug 2 (IANS) Cooking with wood or coal can increase the risk of major eye diseases that can lead to blindness, according to a study involving nearly half a million people in China.The study led by a team of international researchers from the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking University, Beijing, showed that long-term use of solid fuels for cooking was associated with conjunctiva (32 per cent), cataracts (17 per cent), and disorders of the sclera, cornea, iris and ciliary body (DSCIC - 35 per cent), compared with those who cooked using clean fuels.Individuals who switched from using solid to clean fuels for cooking had smaller elevated risks (over those who had always used clean fuels) compared to those who did not switch. People who switched had 21 per cent, 5 per cent and 21 per cent higher risk for conjunctiva, cataracts, and DSCIC, respectively, according to the results published in the journal PLOS Medicine."The increased risks may be caused by exposure to high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide, which can damage the eye surface and cause inflammation," said lead author Dr. Peter Ka Hung Chan, research fellow in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford.Burning wood also increases the risk of eye injury from sparks or wood dust.Further, there was no association found between solid fuel use and risk of glaucoma, because this disorder affects internal eye structures, which are less exposed to pollutants in the air, the researchers said."Among Chinese adults, long-term solid fuel use for cooking was associated with higher risks of not only conjunctiva disorders but also cataracts and other more severe eye diseases. Switching to clean fuels appeared to mitigate the risks, underscoring the global health importance of promoting universal access to clean fuels," Zhengming Chen, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of China Programmes at the Nuffield.--IANSrvt/pgh
Mumbai, July 1 (IANS) The country's leading ophthalmologist Dr Tatyaro P. Lahane -- who created a world record with an eye-popping 162,000-plus cataract surgeries -- has retired after over 36 years from government service."Now, I will go back to my first love, Opthalmology" a visibly relaxed Lahane told IANS a day after hanging up his boots and attending a variety of media events.Having served in various capacities with the government, the last post he held was the prestigious Director - Directorate of Medical Education & Research (DMER) - and was one of the key persons leading the anti-Covid war in the state.Often regarded as the 'Last Word' in eye ailments, Lahane completed his 100,000th cataract surgery in 2007 -- witnessed by the late Union Minister and former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh -- and was conferred a Padma Shri (2008). Since then the record has climbed upto over 162,000 eye surgeries.On his post-retirement plans as the country paid tributes to the medical fraternity on National Doctors Day on Thursday, Lahane said he will continue to "serve the people", and would not stop as far as ophthalmology was concerned, going back to the Opthalmology Department at the Sir J. J. Hospital where he was once the Dean.He was born on February 12, 1957 to a farmer couple Pundlikrao and Anjanabai Lahane, as one of seven siblings, in a small village Makegaon in Latur district.After his schooling and medical education, he started his professional career at the Ambejogai Hospital in adjoining Beed district.During his childhood, both his kidneys had failed and his mother donated one of her kidneys to save his life and later in 1995, he underwent a kidney transplant in Mumbai.Despite the kidney transplant, continuing on medication, Lahane works for more than 15 hours daily and is reputed to have not taken a single day off in several decades.During his tenure at the Sir J. J. Hospital, he modernized the age-old Opthalmology Department and also brought the state-of-the-art Phacoemulsification Surgery to the government sector which revolutionized cataract treatment in public hospitals frequented by the poor and needy.Over the years in the public health sector, Lahane conducted thousands of eye camps in the remotest villages or tribal hamlets to bring the benefits of the latest treatment for eye ailments to those who could ill-afford treatment costs or travel to hospitals in distant urban centres.In 2018, film-maker Virag M. Wankhede paid a celluloid tribute to him with a Marathi biopic - "Dr. Tatya Lahane - Angaar Power is Within".In his long innings in the ophthalmology field, Lahane has lectured widely, conducted eye camps, and has been conferred several honours and awards for his services to the community and humanity.--IANSqn/bg
If you have felt increased screen time is doing a number on your eyes and potentially contributing to digital eye strain, a survey shows you're not alone. Findings show that 80 per cent of respondents say pandemic-prompted screen time put their eyes in "overdrive".
In fact, two-thirds of respondents report experiencing some degree of eye discomfort every day and nearly a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than they did a year ago. All that is adding up to a new sense of urgency: 90 per cent say it's important to take care of their eyes -- starting now.
The VSP Vision Care survey also found that a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than before the pandemic.
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Over half of the respondents report looking at a computer most of the day, every day, say the findings, adding that nearly 2 in 3 experience some degree of eye discomfort on a daily basis. Eighty per cent would be willing to schedule routine computer breaks to relieve digital eye strain, while roughly 1 in 5 prioritise paying regular visits to the eye doctor.
In the survey, more than half of respondents defined a "digital detox" as a break from screen time. However, there are other ways to relieve your eyes other than stepping away from screens completely:
Finding relief from digital eye strain: Digital eye strain can occur from prolonged and frequent use of screens, which engages our near vision, and exposes us to the blue light emitted by screens. Symptoms can appear as watery, dry, sore eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Although around 65 per cent report experiencing eye discomfort on a daily basis, half of Americans sometimes miss their annual exam or never go, according to the survey.
Even if you have perfect vision, prolonged screen time -- pandemic-related or not -- can tire out your eyes. During an eye exam, your eye doctor may suggest a computer lens or a blue light-reducing, anti-reflective lens coating that can help reduce your exposure and combat digital eye strain. If you don't wear prescription glasses, non-prescription lenses with a blue light-reducing, anti-reflective coating can be used.
In the 20-20-20 rule, where every 20 minutes, you take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. This will help to reset your focus and help your eyes feel less fatigued due to digital eye strain. Blinking more frequently also helps to relieve discomfort by moistening your eyes.
Keeping an eye out for kids: The survey found that more than half of parents are worried about the effects of their children's increased screen time. Men are more likely than women to be worried about their children's eyes and, when it comes to millennial dads, 6 in 10 are concerned about their children's vision due to increased screen time.
Eye care is health care, and through a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can detect early signs of serious health conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
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New York, May 18 (IANS) A team of US researchers has, in an alarming study, found direct evidence that Covid-19 can infect cells in the eye.SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, is thought to transmit and begin infection in the upper respiratory tract. For this reason, the use of face masks has been recommended for the general public.However, the new study by the Mount Sinai Hospital researchers found that cells in the eye can be directly infected by SARS-CoV-2. While aerosol transmission is thought to be the primary route of spread, viral particles have been detected in ocular fluid suggesting the eye may be a vulnerable point of viral entry.The findings showed that SARS-CoV-2 can infect surface cells of the eye. The exposed cells revealed the presence of infection-associated proteins including ACE2 -- the virus receptor -- and TMPRSS2 -- an enzyme which allows viral entry. IFN-beta -- a protein that has antiviral and antibacterial properties -- was also found to be suppressed from the exposure to the virus.In addition, the researchers found that ocular surface cells, particularly the limbus, were susceptible to infection, while the central cornea was less vulnerable."We hope this new data results in additional measures to protect the eyes. We also intend to use these models to test approaches to prevent ocular infections," said Timothy Blenkinsop, Assistant Professor, at Mount Sinai.The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, has an immediate impact on preventive measures to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and support new guidance for eye protection that can be instituted worldwide. It also highlights the importance of washing hands, as rubbing one's eyes should now be viewed as an entry point for infection, the researchers said.For the study, the team examined adult human eyes in an in vitro stem cell model. The donor cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then analysed through RNA sequencing. The sequences were then mapped to the human genome and compared to non-infected control cells from adult tissues.The expression of the exposed cell was then evaluated. The study also evaluated whether SARS-CoV-2 could infect both tissues and primary cells in the eye.--IANSrvt/vd
<br>Leadership of the Civil Services advises the policy makers and also coordinates implementation of the Government's decisions. The matter of whether inputs provided by it to the political masters were duly considered, cannot be easily fathomed but it can be rationally believed that 'wise counsels' would be rarely disregarded. In the context of the corona pandemic, it is logical that the health experts would receive prime attention but this would not be considered as something happening outside of the system led by the top bureaucracy.In the final analysis, therefore, the fact that there were major roadblocks in the implementation of the policy decisions taken in regard to the production, transportation and distribution on the ground of all resources vital for the handling of the crisis, calls for a quick examination for corrective actions -- both punitive as well as those meant for augmentation. This national level challenge is of long range and it is never too late to make up for the shortcomings and shortages revealed so far -- a lasting plan of action it is hoped will be framed expeditiously.Traditionally it is the Cabinet Secretary, the topmost bureaucrat of the Government of India dealing with state governments, who provides the administrative umbrella under which all lines of flow of vital data from the states -- these would cut across the ministries handling different subjects -- and channels of directions going down to authorities on the ground, would operate. Both Cabinet Secretary and Home Secretary, who administered the National Disaster Management Act, are the top leaders of the IAS, the famed Civil Service of India and they realised that the district administration headed by the DM-SP duo was best placed to implement a national plan in its jurisdiction since these officials on the ground were also in seamless communication with the Centre and the State headquarters on all matters of national importance.The young IAS and IPS officers manning the district are the natural nodal points for both sending up information of the district and executing a directive in their area. The DM has senior officers looking after health, education and public distribution in the district and it would be possible for him or her to send up in quick time a map of the district showing the number of hospitals big or small with bed capacity, quantity of oxygen cylinders in the district with production potential if any and the location of vaccination centres there. Logistics of despatch of emergency supplies would be smoothened by this first step since even airlifts could be considered for rushing the supplies to state or divisional headquarters for onward movement by road to the needy districts. There is no establishment big or small, in public or private sector, which would not give correct information to the DM in public interest. The SP would step in to prevent smuggling or black marketing of essential supplies and keep the crime situation under control -- the corona pandemic has enlarged the incidence of local crime because of 'restrictions' and the 'desperation' of the people in economic distress. As a policy of governance, India needs to go back to the districts -- there is no politics involved in this.A second revelation in this crisis has been of the cumulative malady of lack of accountability of the heads of any public service establishments existing closer to the people. It is seen that the crisis in a hospital -- which happened to be part of a big chain -- was being explained by the chairman of that business enterprise and not by the superintendent or the CEO of that individual centre. Decentralisation of accountability cannot go with centralisation of decision making -- what happened at the hospital front was rooted in the deadly combination of profiteering and internal corruption, reflected in the stories of ward boys arranging oxygen cylinders from the back door, and lack of fear of punishment. All through the ongoing national crisis not one wrongdoer at any level has been hauled up which itself is a commentary on governance. The nation must inculcate the psyche amongst the heads of establishments and enterprises that they were to govern them in an autonomous but transparent mode -- be it a university, a hospital, a public distribution centre, an employment bureau or a licensing authority. Oversight of the district administration is extremely important in ensuring that this happened.Finally, a learning for the present as also for the future is that we must be aware of the new expectations the pandemic has created in the public mind about the performance of our law and order authorities. A health disaster is a national concern and it is testing the fundamental role of the police of helping the distressed and coming down hard on law breakers who were exploiting the situation for personal benefits. High-handed treatment of hospital staff towards an ordinary patient to favour somebody else -- all within the knowledge of the local police -- recovery of hoarded oxygen cylinders and vaccines without any arrests in the follow-up and harassment of vendors by the constabulary during the restrictions, could produce a multiplier effect in generating an anti-police environ. Pressing into use police resources for helping the desperate citizens would go a long way in correcting that situation. The police machinery may also have to remain prepared for anticipating any mass protests or resort to public violence by some desperate people in the event of the present crisis getting prolonged beyond a point. The pandemic highlights the people's expectations of a constructive role of the police as a guardian of the society.In a bid to mop up every resource for handling the unprecedented corona crisis, the Government of India has moved to tap the Army's known efficacy for taking up a challenge -- even in the civilian sector -- and given special financial powers to the Commanders to manage hospitals, oxygen manufacturing plants and logistic issues. This is being done as the civilian machinery is overwhelmed by the demands of the pandemic. The army is used to coming in aid of the civil administration in countering manmade threats like terrorism and it is not abnormal that it has been invited to step in for handling a natural disaster like the corona emergency.The learning from this is that the nation must, while emphasising on the creation of infrastructure, get on with the business of building adequate medical infrastructure as well -- with private partnership wherever possible -- and generate jobs for medical and paramedical trainees. In this country there will always be a demand for hospitals and nursing homes and these will be financially self-sufficient, even though they might not generate 'business like' profits. The policy framework for India has to be a healthy mix of 'free market' and 'welfare' approach. The pandemic has witnessed the political will of the leadership to take major decisions without losing time but it has certainly exposed the limitations of the machinery of execution down the line in coping up with a national challenge of this magnitude. The pandemic has tested decision making, coordination and delivery and has brought lessons to the government and the people alike on their respective share of responsibility in producing an integral non-political response to a national crisis.And yes, let me commend as a man of science that everybody must drink enough water because water is hydrogenated oxygen that reaches the cell through osmosis, jacking up the oxygen level and take to deep breathing with emphasis on exhalation (to throw out carbon dioxide) that directly improves the access of oxygen to lungs. The moral of the story is that every citizen, not the government alone, has to contribute to the fight against the virus.(The writer is a former Director Intelligence Bureau)--IANS<br>pathak/am
Mumbai, May 4 (IANS) The Maharashtra Transport Department in collaboration with the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) state unit has fitted GPS devices to monitor the movement of oxygen tankers in the state, an official said here on Tuesday.From Monday, 250 oxygen tankers fitted with the GPS devices have enabled the Transport Department to keep 24X7 tabs on the vehicles on a single dashboard set up in the Transport Commissioner's office.The development came after FADA State Chairperson Amar Jatin Sheth met Transport Commissioner Avinash Dhakane and discussed the issues recently.Following Dhakane's recommendation, the FADA decided to arrange the GPS devices, roped in MOBO which has the technical knowhow and expertise and spent Rs 10 lakh for the venture.FADA president Vinkesh Gulati said the move would strengthen the hands of the state government at the height of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.It will also help save precious lives of patients by providing them with the lifesaving oxygen on time, and help the efficient management of tankers' movements, said Sheth.Dhakane appreciated the contribution of FADA and said the GPS fitted tankers would be able to do a quick turnaround and help save more peoples' lives.Maharashtra currently is the worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of infections and deaths, though the situation is gradually improving, and there is a huge demand for oxygen among the patients.--IANSqn/sdr/