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Over 80% Pellet Victims in Kashmir Have Lost Vision: Study

The study has strongly advised against the use of pellet guns on civilians to avoid ophthalmic trauma.

Anees Zargar 11 Nov 2022

jk
File Photo.


Srinagar: Most of the victims of pellet-gun injuries have lost vision in either one or both the eyes despite treatment, a recent study has found, with the vision amongst them limited to only counting fingers.

The study, published by the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, to “examine the incidence, clinical findings and management of pellet gun–related ocular injuries” during this time has found that the final “best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) after treatment was counting fingers or worse in 82.4% of the eyes.

The authors of the report, the main one being Dr S Natarajan, a prominent retina surgeon from Mumbai, have strongly advised against the use of pellet guns against civilians to avoid ophthalmic trauma.

“The poor visual outcomes, high costs of medical care, and long-term visual rehabilitation process in these young working-age patient impose a significant physical, emotional, and socio-economic burden to both individuals and the society,” it concluded.

The victims in the recent study were mostly young males with bilateral eye injuries. The study mentioned that a surgical intervention was often necessary and despite the expeditious treatment, “visual outcomes remained poor.”

The report, which was approved by Srinagar’s Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital’s Institutional Review Board was carried out in accordance with the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki, a set of ethical principles published by the World Medical Association to guide the protection of human participants in medical research.

This study is based on records from 777 victims who were diagnosed with pellet gun–related ocular injuries between July and November 2016, a time when Kashmir witnessed a massive surge in violence in the aftermath of killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.

“In terms of laterality, 94.3% and 5.7% of the patients sustained monocular and binocular injuries, respectively. In terms of the nature of injury, 76.3% of the eyes had open globe injury while 23.7% of the eyes had closed eye injury,” the study said.

The study further said that the emergency surgical exploration was performed in 67.7% of closed globe injuries while emergency primary repair was done in 91.1% of open globe injuries.

“The vast majority of patients (98.7%) who required surgery underwent surgical intervention on the day of admission or the next day,” it mentioned.

Pellet guns were introduced around 2010 as non-lethal means to quell protests in Kashmir against traditional ballistic-based weapons. Since then, thousands of mostly youth have been shot by the pellet guns and many have died, reportedly, after being shot from close range. The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have come under serious criticism, especially from international rights bodies for using pellets after hundreds lost their eyesight in at least one or both eyes. The victims included children as young as 18-months-old.

A pellet victim from South Kashmir, who has completely lost vision in one of the eyes, told NewsClick that the problems for victims like him have compounded since. There is compassion in the beginning but later the victims not only lose vision but their family, friends and relatives, too.

“Then there is harassment from the authorities which never ends despite being a victim of their violence – it is perpetuated relentlessly. Even if that stops, it would be a relief,” the victim said, wishing anonymity due to fear of reprisal from authorities.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Over 80% Pellet Victims in Kashmir Have Lost Vision: Study

The study has strongly advised against the use of pellet guns on civilians to avoid ophthalmic trauma.

jk
File Photo.


Srinagar: Most of the victims of pellet-gun injuries have lost vision in either one or both the eyes despite treatment, a recent study has found, with the vision amongst them limited to only counting fingers.

The study, published by the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, to “examine the incidence, clinical findings and management of pellet gun–related ocular injuries” during this time has found that the final “best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) after treatment was counting fingers or worse in 82.4% of the eyes.

The authors of the report, the main one being Dr S Natarajan, a prominent retina surgeon from Mumbai, have strongly advised against the use of pellet guns against civilians to avoid ophthalmic trauma.

“The poor visual outcomes, high costs of medical care, and long-term visual rehabilitation process in these young working-age patient impose a significant physical, emotional, and socio-economic burden to both individuals and the society,” it concluded.

The victims in the recent study were mostly young males with bilateral eye injuries. The study mentioned that a surgical intervention was often necessary and despite the expeditious treatment, “visual outcomes remained poor.”

The report, which was approved by Srinagar’s Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital’s Institutional Review Board was carried out in accordance with the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki, a set of ethical principles published by the World Medical Association to guide the protection of human participants in medical research.

This study is based on records from 777 victims who were diagnosed with pellet gun–related ocular injuries between July and November 2016, a time when Kashmir witnessed a massive surge in violence in the aftermath of killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.

“In terms of laterality, 94.3% and 5.7% of the patients sustained monocular and binocular injuries, respectively. In terms of the nature of injury, 76.3% of the eyes had open globe injury while 23.7% of the eyes had closed eye injury,” the study said.

The study further said that the emergency surgical exploration was performed in 67.7% of closed globe injuries while emergency primary repair was done in 91.1% of open globe injuries.

“The vast majority of patients (98.7%) who required surgery underwent surgical intervention on the day of admission or the next day,” it mentioned.

Pellet guns were introduced around 2010 as non-lethal means to quell protests in Kashmir against traditional ballistic-based weapons. Since then, thousands of mostly youth have been shot by the pellet guns and many have died, reportedly, after being shot from close range. The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have come under serious criticism, especially from international rights bodies for using pellets after hundreds lost their eyesight in at least one or both eyes. The victims included children as young as 18-months-old.

A pellet victim from South Kashmir, who has completely lost vision in one of the eyes, told NewsClick that the problems for victims like him have compounded since. There is compassion in the beginning but later the victims not only lose vision but their family, friends and relatives, too.

“Then there is harassment from the authorities which never ends despite being a victim of their violence – it is perpetuated relentlessly. Even if that stops, it would be a relief,” the victim said, wishing anonymity due to fear of reprisal from authorities.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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