Health Watch
Highlights:
  • World Glaucoma Awareness Week is being celebrated on 8-14 March 2020
  • Its main objective is to create more awareness among the general public about the dangers of glaucoma
  • This will enable early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of blindness arising from glaucoma


World Glaucoma Awareness Week is being celebrated on 8-14 March 2020 across the globe. It is jointly organized by the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patient Committee (WGPC). The celebrations have been successfully running for over a decade. It is very encouraging to know that since the World Glaucoma Awareness Week was launched, over 8,000 events have taken place across the globe.
World Glaucoma Awareness Week: Wishing Everyone 20:20 Vision in 2020

The celebrations bring together patients, ophthalmologists, health officials and the general public for awareness generation about the importance of regular eye check-ups for preventing glaucoma-associated blindness. Since the symptoms of glaucoma become evident only at a late stage, it is considered to be an invisible disease. Therefore, the 2020 World Glaucoma Awareness Week Theme is very apt - 'B-I-G: Beat Invisible Glaucoma'.

Objective of World Glaucoma Awareness Week

The primary objective of World Glaucoma Awareness Week is to prevent blindness arising from glaucoma. Since the disease gives no warning until it is in an advanced stage, the organizers lay stress on the importance of regular eye checks to detect the disease as early as possible so that sight can be saved.

Essential Aspects of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that occurs due to the build-up of pressure within the eyeball, technically termed as intraocular pressure (IOP). Elevated IOP damages the optic nerve, which is responsible for relaying visual information from the eyes to the brain, where the perception of vision is generated. If left untreated, continuous damage to the optic nerve can result in irreversible blindness. Although there are several types of glaucoma, the most prominent are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).


The high prevalence of glaucoma depends on several factors, including the following:
  • Late presentation to the doctor
  • Non-compliance to doctor's advice
  • Lack of knowledge about eye care
  • High severity at the time of diagnosis
The most common diagnostic procedure for glaucoma is called tonometry, which is used to measure the IOP. There are also other diagnostic tests, including examination of the structure and function of the optic nerve. Glaucoma can be treated by eye drops, systemic medications, incisional surgery and laser surgery.

Glaucoma: Facts & Figures

Ways to Generate Awareness about Glaucoma

World Glaucoma Awareness Week provides an ideal opportunity to increase awareness about the disease through various events and activities, involving people from all walks of life. Some of the ways to increase awareness about glaucoma are highlighted below:
  • Knowledge Dissemination: Providing authentic knowledge to people, especially students, about the importance of regular eye check-ups can go a long way to prevent glaucoma-associated blindness
  • Educational Forums: Conferences, symposia, public lectures, webinars, panel discussions and debates on the topic of glaucoma are very effective ways of generating awareness
  • CME's for Medics: Medical college and hospital-centric activities such as CME (Continuing Medical Education) programs on glaucoma can be conducted to increase awareness among medical students and doctors
  • Free Eye Check-Ups: Conductingfree eye check-ups at the community level can detect glaucoma at an early stage, as well as encourage people to take regular care of their eyes
  • Glaucoma Walkathons: Participating in sponsored walks is a fun way of increasing awareness about glaucoma as well as raising funds for patient care
  • Advocacy: Sustained advocacy efforts will not only help to shape public opinion, but also encourage policymakers to develop health policies that benefit glaucoma patients
  • Sit-and-Draw Competitions: Drawing and painting competitions focusing on vision will help to spread the message among youngsters about the importance of taking care of their eyes
  • Media Coverage: Promotion of the events taking place on World Glaucoma Awareness Week through radio, TV, electronic or print media would showcase the importance of glaucoma among the masses
  • Popular Articles: Publication of informative popular articles on glaucoma in newspapers or blogs would help to generate awareness and ignite interest about the disease among the general public
  • Lighting-Up in 'Green': The awareness color for World Glaucoma Awareness Week is 'Green'. Therefore, illumination of prominent buildings and landmarks in 'Green' light will not only create awareness about glaucoma, but also be a feast for the eyes

Conclusion

World Glaucoma Awareness Week is an ideal platform for the generation of awareness about glaucoma. It is quite feasible that glaucoma could be eradicated through education and health programs, coupled with advocacy efforts. Furthermore, early case detection, prompt treatment and adequate preventive measures will facilitate eradication so that visual disability can be prevented in millions of people across the globe.

Hence, make sure that you're fully aware of the 'silent thief of sight' to avoid being its next victim!

References :
  1. World Glaucoma Week: March 8-14, 2020 - (https://www.worldglaucomaweek.org/)
  2. Statistics - World Glaucoma Association, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - (https://www.glaucomapatients.org/basic/statistics/)
  3. World Glaucoma Week - National Health Portal, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/world-glaucoma-week_pg)
  4. March 8th to 14th is World Glaucoma Awareness Week - Irish College of Ophthalmologists, Dublin, Ireland - (https://www.eyedoctors.ie/campaigns/glaucomaweek/)


Source: Medindia

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