Advanced treatment to be offered free of cost to all

The Ophthalmology Department of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital, attached to the K.A.P. Viswanatham Medical College in the city, has acquired advanced diagnostic and surgical equipment which would enable it to conduct advancement surgeries and treatment procedures for treating glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy.

Among the new equipment are an automated perimeter used for diagnosis of glaucoma, a phaco emulsifier for carrying out cataract surgeries through minute incision and‘argon green laser’ equipment used for treating diabetic retinopathy.

The hospital will carry out the advanced treatment procedures free of cost. The cost for the same treatment would be very high in private hospitals. “It is important that people should be aware of the facilities available at the hospital so that they can avail them free of cost,” said Parthiban Purushothaman, Head, Department of Ophthalmology, K.A.P. Viswanatham Medical College.

The automated perimeter will help diagnose glaucoma, a condition that is said to be second most common cause for preventable blindness in the country.

“Previously, patients from the district were referred to various other hospitals and centres in the absence of the equipment. Now, it is available free of cost at our hospital and a boon for patients from the district. Diagnosing glaucoma at an early stage with this machine greatly enhances the treatment process. The procedure will be of great aid in evaluating the progression of brain lesions,” he said.

The machine comes with a touch-screen and printouts of the results so that it was easy for follow up treatment.

“Using the German-made phaco emulsifier and foldable intra-ocular lens could be inserted upon removing the cataractous lens in the patient through a suture-less surgery. The machine helps make minute incision of just 2.2 mm in size. One of the biggest advantages of the machine is that the entire process is done as an outpatient procedure. It also enables quick rehabilitation and patients can return to work within a week. “The procedure using the machine is normally done at a cost of Rs. 40,000 at private hospitals,” Dr. Parthiban said.

The argon green laser, also an imported machine, was for diagnosing diabetic retinopathy, another major cause for blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment through laser photocoagulation using the machine would help prevent long-term complications of diabetes in the eye, he added.

The machines had been acquired at a cost of nearly Rs. 35 lakh.