Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, worldwide would affect 60 million by 2010 and an alarming 80 million by the end of 2020, based on a projection in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
Asians, more specifically Indians and Africa would be the worst affected by the disabling eye disease. Infact Asians would account for more than half of all glaucoma cases by then. Six out of every 10-glaucoma sufferer would be women as per the 2010 prediction.
Furthermore, open angle glaucoma, characterized by slow disease process would be more common (3 of 4) than angle closure glaucoma. By 2010, more than 8.5 million would have lost vision in both their eyes. India would see a rapid increase in the number of glaucoma cases between 2010 and 2020.
Disease rates based on age, sex and ethnicity were calculated using comprehensive data from population-based study of glaucoma patients and United Nations projections for world population. The various forms of treatment modalities available in the developed countries can reduce the associated disability.
Glaucoma, that accounts for 12% of global blindness arises due to raised intra-ocular pressure and consequent nerve damage. In some cases, the disease may be seen in cases of normal eye pressure as well.
Lack of proper awareness about the disease and the availability of a reliable screening test to detect the disease at an early stage can account for an increase in glaucoma over the recent years.
The irreversible nature of the disease, the difficulty in detection and treatment had lead to the public to perceive it is as a less significant problem.