Glaucoma Awareness Week
Glaucoma, the silent thief of vision, is a chronic, progressive, blinding disease, of which a majority of the population are not aware of. The incidence of glaucoma is 79.6 million people worldwide and 12 million in India. Annually, nearly 1.2 million people become permanently blind due to glaucoma in India. Glaucoma is a condition where a long term elevated intraocular pressure causes degeneration/ damage of the optic nerve, thereby causing permanent visual loss. However, the good news is that if Glaucoma is identified earlier with periodic screening, timely intervention may prevent subsequent vision loss.
Initially, the patient may not notice the diminution of vision as it may involve the peripheral fields initially slowly progressing to involve the central field.
Some of the risk factors/people who might be at risk of glaucoma include:
1. High myopes / high hyperopes i.e, people with large refractive errors
2. People with a family history of glaucoma
3. People with history of ocular injuries
4. People taking medications like steroids (in any form) for systemic illness
5. Chronic diabetes and hypertensives
Glaucomas are a group of conditions which may be
1. Congenital glaucoma - Present from birth
2. Juvenile glaucoma - Present in adolescence
3. Adult Onset glaucoma which can be Primary Open angle glaucoma/ angle closure glaucoma
4. Secondary glaucoma - Due to various causes like ocular injuries, chronic steroid usage etc
Annual eye examination with assessment of visual acuity, intraocular pressure monitoring and optic nerve exam might help in early detection of the condition. Many people who prefer to get their vision checked at local optical dispensaries, are losing their chance of getting a complete screening done & thereby, presenting at late stages of disease where the situation has become non salvageable.
Newer treatment modalities like lasers, minimally invasive surgeries, topical eye drops with better modes of action and lesser side effects are helping thousands of people annually to preserve their vision.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT & PRESERVE THE LIGHT OF YOUR LIFE
Dr. B. Pranathi
Sr. Consultant & HOD Ophthalmology Cataract,
Glaucoma & Refractive Surgeon
KIMS Hospitals, Sec-bad