Visakhapatnam: Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in the world, according to an expert

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“Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain despite increased pressure in the eye”

“Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain despite increased pressure in the eye”

The LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) will organize awareness campaigns, lectures and interactive patient forums to raise awareness about glaucoma for early detection and prevention of the eye problem as part of World Glaucoma Week ( WGW) which will run from March 6-12. .

The WGW is a joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patients Association (WGPA) to raise awareness of glaucoma.

Mahesh Bharathi, Glaucoma Consultant, LVPEI, Visakhapatnam, explains that glaucoma is an eye problem associated with increased eye pressure and is characterized by damage to the optic nerve, leading to irreversible blindness. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss worldwide. The number of glaucoma patients will increase from 76 million to 111.8 million by 2040 and a majority of these patients will reside in Africa and Asia, according to global estimates.

Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain despite the increased pressure in the eye. The vision damage would occur even before they see an eye doctor. Vision lost due to glaucoma cannot be restored. But, glaucoma can be prevented if caught and treated early.

While 80% of blindness from glaucoma is preventable, nearly 7 million people worldwide become blind from glaucoma, two-thirds of whom are women. Indeed, around 90% of glaucoma cases go undetected, likely due to a lack of awareness, says Dr. Mahesh.

Citing available statistics, he says that 1.12 crore Indians including children suffer from glaucoma. Among them, 11 lakh have gone blind. The disease typically affects people over the age of 40, with one in eight people at risk of contracting the disease.

Early detection

Early detection through screening is the only way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. A basic eye exam cannot detect glaucoma. Only a complete ophthalmological examination including a control of the ocular pressure, an examination of the dilated fundus and a gonioscopy (in certain cases) can diagnose it.

Screening of family members of patients with glaucoma is mandatory, as this disease can affect siblings and children of patients in up to 10-20% of cases. Similarly, people over 40 who have high myopia or diabetes are at greater risk. Those who have had significant eye damage in the past or have had eye surgeries should also have their eyes checked regularly.

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