37% of Pellet Gun Victims End-Up With Blindness in Kashmir Valley: GMC Report

According to the latest study on Pellet Gun Victims in the Kashmir Valley, 59.3% of the victims suffered from visual impairment of various degrees while 36.7% ending up with severe blindness.

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According to Kashmir Media Service, the study at Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar has lent scientific support to the fears about the lethality of the metallic pellet shotguns widely used by Indian troops, paramilitary and police personnel Kashmir against protesters.

The study included 664 patients out of the 1,066, 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% of the studied eyes, there was visual impairment of “varying degrees”. The data compiled for these injuries reveals that 10.8% eyes were completely blinded by pellet shotgun wounds.

In these eyes, there was “no perception of light (PL)”, implying that the victims could not perceive bright light shone into their eye.

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At least 32.1% 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% 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 the guidance of Prof Tariq Qureshi.

The aim of the study carried out over a period of one and a half year, “was to characterise clinical profile of such eye injuries, determine the visual outcome and evaluate various factors affecting the visual outcome”.

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A senior ophthalmologist at GMC Srinagar said that considering limited data on eye trauma by pellet shotguns, the research assumes significance for practitioners in the volatile region and outside involved in treating such injuries.

The youngest victim studied is aged 5, while the oldest one is 59-year-old. 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.

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