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Muslims warned not to stop taking eye drops during Ramadan

The IGA has issued the call ahead of the month of fasting which begins next Tuesday

Eye drops
The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) has issued a warning advising Muslim glaucoma patients not to stop taking eye drops during Ramadan.

Ramadan takes place from 15 May to 14 June and stopping eye drop medication, even for a short period of time, can lead to permanent sight loss, the IGA has emphasised.

The association issued the warning after observing that hospital reports and calls to its own helpline have indicated that some Muslims stop using eye drops during the month of fasting.

This, it believes, is due to a view that taking eye drops will break their fast.

The IGA adds that many of these patients subsequently stop using the drops completely as they do not perceive any changes to their sight. However, the association warns that vision changes "will not be apparent to the individual until significant sight loss has occurred."

IGA development manager, Subhash Suthar, said: "We want to reassure the Muslim community that drops can be taken before dawn and after sunset, when food or drink can be consumed."

Offering advice to Muslims, Mr Suthar advises: "We also suggest that patients close the tear duct when taking eye drops as this means that fluid stays in the eye and does not drain into the throat and so cannot be tasted."

The IGA is working with the Muslim Council of Britain to raise awareness of this issue.

The IGA's three pieces of advice regarding eye drops during Ramadan include:
1. Do not stop eye drops during Ramadan
2. If doubtful, use morning drops at Suhoor and evening drops at Iftar
3. Try practising punctual occlusion following instillation of drops.