Srinagar, March 26 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, a latest study – and the first one to evaluate vision in pellet-injured eyes – has revealed that 59.3 percent of the victims suffer visual impairment of various degrees among them 36.7 ending up with severe blindness in the territory.
The study at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar has lent scientific support to the fears about lethality of the metallic pellet shotguns widely used by Indian troops, paramilitary and police personnel in Kashmir against protesters. The study included 664 patients out of the 1066, who were admitted to SMHS Hospital Srinagar between July 2016 and January 2018, with eye injuries suffered due to pellet shotguns.
The researcher found that in 59.3 percent of the studied eyes, there was visual impairment of “varying degrees”. The data compiled for these injuries reveals that 10.8 percent eyes were completely blinded by pellet shotgun injuries. In these eyes, there was “no perception of light (PL)”, implying that the victims could not perceive bright light shone into their eye.
At least 32.1 percent of the studied group had suffered closed globe injuries – those where eye wall had not ruptured – while the rest had open globe injuries, involving perforating trauma to one or more layers of the eye. Of these, about 85 percent had suffered severe injuries – grade D and grade E.
The study titled “Clinical Profile and Visual Outcome of Pellet Gun related Ocular Trauma” was carried out by Dr Faisal Qayoom Shah of postgraduate department of ophthalmology at the GMC, under guidance of Prof Tariq Qureshi. The aim of the study, carried out over a period of one and half year, “was to characterize clinical profile of such eye injuries, determine visual outcome and evaluate various factors affecting visual outcome”.
A senior ophthalmologist at GMC Srinagar said that considering limited data on eye trauma by pellet shotguns, the research assumes significance for practitioners in Kashmir and outside involved in treating such injuries.
The researcher has been able to demonstrate how site of the entry wound has significance in determining the visual outcome of such an injury, while also highlighting the role of well-timed, and well-carried-out vitreo-retinal surgery in reducing visual impairment.
The youngest victim studied is aged 5, while the oldest one is aged 59 years. Of the studied eyes, 9 were of female victims. The mean age of the study population is 22.5 years. These people were injured by two types of pellets, as per the researcher – 2.01 mm and 2.26 mm diameter, the study states.