UV radiation blinding rural folk, finds study – Times of India

Chennai: Why is every alternate person over the age of 40 in rural India blind from cataracts, while only one in five in cities has the disease? This was the question that bothered a group of researchers at the Shankar Netralaya in the city about two years ago. Today, they have one answer risk for ultraviolet radiation.
The team of optometrists and ophthalmologists found that although ultraviolet radiation levels were higher in Chennai than in neighboring Thiruvallur due to pollution, ocular exposure to these rays was higher in rural areas than in the city, increasing the risk.

“Our study shows that it is clearly adopted by most residents of the city due to lifestyle changes,” said Dr Ronnie George, a consultant with Shankar Nethralaya. Examining the profiles of more than 800 people evenly divided into urban and rural areas, the team calculated “lifetime ocular UV exposure” in rural and urban areas.
“The study proved that no matter where they are or agriculture, poultry or construction workers hats and / or sunglasses are required to block ultraviolet rays from the eye. This has to do with more common sense than style, ” They said .

47-year-old agricultural laborer Arivunidhi, who underwent cataract surgery in June, understands this very well. “Almost every working member of my family has the disease. It grew rapidly in my wife and she was operated upon last year,” he said. While Arivunidhi and his wife Kalaiselvi are among the lucky few, many are not.


Cataract is a cloud of lens. India is now home to more than 15 million visually impaired, most of which is due to cataracts and is therefore reversible. A recent study by the hospital on cataracts, which examined 7,774 patients, showed that about 50% of rural citizens over the age of 40 were affected. In urban areas, about 20% were affected.

Cataracts are classified according to where they occur. Cataracts associated with ultraviolet exposure are cortical cataracts and form in the outer layer of the lens. People with high lifetime ocular exposure were more at risk for this type of cataract than those at low risk.

Lifetime ocular exposure is calculated with formulas developed by scientists based on an individual’s case history, including occupation, hours of sunshine, and place of residence. The hospital took ultraviolet radiation supplements from the tropospheric emission monitoring system. According to an international initiative studying ozone depletion, the UV index was 6.9 in Thiruvallur and 7.1 in Chennai.

Since January, the team also measured the amount of ultraviolet radiation in Chennai and neighboring districts. “We uncovered polysulfone strips, which are able to absorb UV flow from sunlight, and then read the measurements under a collimator, a device that compresses beams of particles or waves. Cities and rural areas The difference between it was obvious. Also, “said Rashima Asokan, an optometrist.


Studies have shown that sunlight, especially ultraviolet B radiation, may increase the risk of a major form of cataract, in addition to skin cancer. UV-A radiation is more associated with skin tanning.

According to radiation levels, Chennai should have been at greater risk. “‘We therefore saw why not,” said Dr. George. The analysis responded. The lifetime ocular exposure was 1.32 for urban people as compared to 3.16 for those living in rural areas.

This clearly explains why people in rural areas got the disease at least five years earlier than their counterparts in the city or why the incidence was more than double.

Rashima said, “Where there is enough sunlight to give sunburn, it is wise to block the sun. If the glasses are not cheap, we will write at least a cap.”



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