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9 Feb 2017

Halogen lamps cause eye problem - Students, teachers and district magistrate under medication after attending Kanyashree programme

One of the schoolgirls afflicted by the eye ailment at the Raiganj district hospital on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
TT, Raiganj, Feb. 8: Around 50 schoolgirls, some teachers and a number of administrative officials, including the district magistrate, have been suffering from an eye ailment since yesterday evening after they spent around one-and-a-half hours in the constant glow of halogen lamps at a government programme.
Doctors in the eye ward of the North Dinajpur district hospital here said the ailment was called superficial punctate keratitis.
"As eyes were exposed to exceptionally bright lights for quite some time, a portion of the corneas got inflamed. The inflammation is causing irritation and constant flow of tears. It would take two-three days for the patients to recover. They have been advised to avoid bright lights and heat for a few days," Ashit Biswas, an ophthalmologist at the hospital, said.
Yesterday evening, the North Dinajpur district administration had organised a programme for enrollment and renewal of membership of girl students for the Kanyashree scheme in the subdivisional library here.
Around 50 students from Raiganj Girls' High School were brought and they were accompanied by five teachers.
The district magistrate, Ayesha Rani A, and the Raiganj subdivisional officer, T.N. Sherpa, were present, along with other officials.
"The event was held in a small room of the library. Inside the room, as many as six halogen lamps were on throughout the event. There was an intensive glow from the lamps. We later learnt that so many high voltage lamps were fitted to ensure that there was adequate light to video the programme," an official said.
As the officials, girls and teachers left for home after the programme, they felt irritation in the eyes. The district magistrate and other officials reached the district hospital at night to get their eyes examined.
A medical team was sent to the school today for examining the students and teachers afflicted with the ailment.
"Since yesterday night, I am having an irritation in both my eyes. This morning, I found that I couldn't open my eyes in the daylight. The eyes have become red and tears are flowing constantly. Later today, we were examined and even taken to hospital. Doctors have administered eye drops, after which the irritation has subdued to some extent," Jayati Pal, one of the girls, said.
A number of schoolgirls and teachers were seen wearing dark glasses at the advice of the doctors so that their eyes were not exposed to bright lights.
The DM said she could not make it to the office today and worked from her home because of the eye problem.
"Similar is the situation of some other officials who were at the event yesterday. All of us are under medication," said Ayesha.
Later in the evening, most of the girls and teachers left the hospital for home. Some of them are still at the hospital.

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