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World Glaucoma Awareness Week – “B-I-G Beat Invisible Glaucoma”
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World Glaucoma Awareness Week – “B-I-G Beat Invisible Glaucoma”

Written by Shirley Johanna, M.Sc, M.Phil
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on March 10, 2018 at 3:40 PM
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Highlights:
  • World Glaucoma Awareness Week is observed from 11th - 17th March, with an aim to eliminate glaucoma blindness
  • Globally, 66 million have glaucoma, which is the leading cause of blindness
  • Regular eye check-ups help to prevent progression of glaucoma and thus protect the vision

World Glaucoma Awareness Week is observed every year in the month of March to create awareness about glaucoma and to eliminate glaucoma blindness by getting people to have regular eye check-up, including the optic nerve checks. World Glaucoma Awareness Week is a collaboration between the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA). The Theme for World Glaucoma Awareness Week 2018 is "B-I-G Beat Invisible Glaucoma."

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. It is also known as the 'silent thief of sight,' as the symptoms are not noticeable. Most of the patients progress to the advanced stage of glaucoma before they can notice a problem in vision. Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve (transmits information from the eye to the brain) is damaged. If left untreated, it causes progressive optic nerve damage and irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is classified into two types - open angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma, depending on the drainage channels of the eye.

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World Glaucoma Awareness Week – “B-I-G Beat Invisible Glaucoma”

The first symptom of glaucoma is the shrinkage of the field of vision. Glaucoma can lead to partial loss of vision or even blindness if not treated appropriately. The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown. However, it can occur due to a variety of reasons such as the use of steroids medication or complications after eye surgery. The most important risk factor for glaucoma is the increased pressure inside the eyeball, which is called "intraocular pressure (IOP)."

Glaucoma can be detected by a complete eye examination that includes a slit lamp biomicroscopic evaluation, IOP measurement, and Field of Vision test. The damage caused to the optic nerve is permanent, but with appropriate treatment, further deterioration can be prevented to a great extent by timely detection and effective treatment.

Facts about Glaucoma

  • First Degree Relatives (FDRs) have a ten-fold increase in life-long glaucoma risk
  • Glaucoma can affect any age group. The risk increases at the age of 40
  • It is not curable and the lost vision cannot be restored
  • Glaucoma is hereditary and it can be passed on from parents to children
  • The most common form of glaucoma is the open-angle glaucoma

Glaucoma Statistics

  • Globally, 66 million people have glaucoma
  • About 76 million people will have glaucoma by 2020
  • About 50 to 90 percent of the people with glaucoma remain undetected
  • One in 4 people over the age of 40 years has glaucoma
  • In India, 12 million people have glaucoma. About 1.1 million people are blind due to glaucoma
  • Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of those are aware of the condition
  • In the US, More than 120,000 are blind due to glaucoma
  • Blindness from glaucoma is eight times more for African Americans than Caucasians
As part of the World Glaucoma Awareness week, campaigns are organized to raise awareness about glaucoma among the public and to emphasize the importance of regular eye check-ups. Ophthalmic hospitals and centers all over the world conduct free screening test for glaucoma during the awareness week. If you have a family member with glaucoma or if you have not tested your eyes recently, make use of this opportunity to get your eyes tested, to get timely treatment and to prevent permanent loss of vision.
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Reference :
  1. Glaucoma Facts and Stats - (https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/glaucoma-facts-and-stats.php)
  2. Facts About Glaucoma - (https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts)
Source: Medindia

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