January is the month for glaucoma
awareness, aimed at raising consciousness about this silent sight stealer
Here are some hard-hitting statistics about glaucoma:
- In India, more than 12 million
people are affected with glaucoma
constitutes one fifth of the global glaucoma population
are equal number of open angle and closed angle glaucoma patients in India
National Blindness Survey of 2001 showed that glaucoma was the third leading cause of blindness in India
- It is the primary cause of irreversible blindness
- In the South Indian population, the number of
urban glaucoma cases (3.5%) was more than the number of glaucoma cases (1.5%)
in the rural areas.
Individuals At Risk
Glaucoma is a silent disease and a
regular eye examination
is necessary to identify its presence and
for early treatment. Detection of the disease condition is necessary to prevent
further deterioration of vision.
‘Glaucoma is a silent irreversible vision killer that tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life. It can lead to permanent loss of vision.’
Individuals with the following
conditions/ practices may have an increased risk for the disease
- Frequent headaches
to the face or the eye
- Individuals who have
undergone surgeries to the eye
- The necessity to change
- Parents, brothers or
sisters with glaucoma
- Individuals with
hypertension, thyroid disease or diabetes
over the age of 40 years
- Excessive rubbing of eyes or use of goggles
Glaucoma is a group of diseases,
which results in damage to the eye's optic nerve. It leads to irreversible
vision loss and surgery or treatment procedures are used only to prevent
further vision loss. Most often people with glaucoma are detected to have the
disease only after they have lost considerable peripheral vision.
Since early detection is the key
to saving vision, it is ideal to have a
complete eye examination once every year or 2 years.
The glaucoma awareness month is
aimed at educating people about the prevalence of the disease, risk of blindness
and the need for early detection. A
large population of glaucoma patients remain undetected till vision loss is
identified. In the Chennai Glaucoma Study conducted by Sankara Nethralaya,
98.6% of glaucoma patients were detected to have the disease during the study
program, indicative of the lack of awareness about the disease and fueling the
need for more aggressive community health strategies during this glaucoma
In the Vision 2020 Right to Sight
program in India, Glaucoma is one of the diseases under the avoidable blindness
conditions, demonstrating the enormity of this disease condition.
There is no cure for the disease
yet but intense research is on to find a
. People do not realize they have the disease till the disease
has advanced considerably. This is because
- Anyone at any age can get the
disease. Babies to young adults have been detected with the disease. Most
people tend to ignore vision changes in younger adults owing to ignorance about
the prevalence of this disease even among the young.
- The added
pressure on the optic nerves due to this
disease remains undetected as there is no pain associated with it.
have been found to lose 40% of their vision before they realize it. This is
because people who lose peripheral vision, unconscientiously turn around and
face their object of attention directly, not realizing that they have lost
tests are also being devised to identify the disease before the substantial loss of neurons.
Proactive steps need to be taken
by individuals to ensure that glaucoma is detected and corrective measures
employed to prevent vision loss. Even after detection, 10% of patients may
still lose their sight.
- Talk to friends and family about
- Consciously look out for
reduction in the field of vision.
- Speak to an
expert about vision concerns.
- Get eyes tested every
Glaucoma has a high incidence
across the world, it is better to make good vision your mission than to lose
the fight for sight.