The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, will soon introduce a diagnostic kit which can detect eye infections from a single drop of ocular fluid. “It has taken us five years of research to develop this multiplex molecular biologic kit and we have filed four US patents,” said Amod Gupta, the head of PGIMER’s advanced eye centre. “In this technique, that we call multiplex polymerase chain reaction, a single drop of fluid taken from a person’s eye can be used to detect different types of infections caused by fungus, bacteria or a virus.” Gupta claimed this was a rare breakthrough and that “nowhere else in the world has anybody achieved it”. “With this, we can treat infections in the interior of the eye. Normally, several tests are conducted to diagnose different kinds of eye diseases,” he said.
The centre, which was visited by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in March, is among the few government facilities that treat fungal infections of the cornea by injecting an anti-fungal agent into the eye. “Our centre, which is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and has seven operation theatres, has started to treat cases of diabetic retinopathy in a big way. We now have 45 million such cases in India and these are going to double by 2020,” Gupta said.