• World Glaucoma Week is observed each year to bring attention to vision impairment and blindness caused by glaucoma.
• Ophthalmologists highlight the need for early detection.
• Nearly 1.2 million Indians suffer from irreversible blindness caused due to glaucoma.
• More than 90 percent of cases of glaucoma remain undiagnosed in the community.
10th March 2023, Mumbai: This World Glaucoma Week, Allergan, an AbbVie company, came together with renowned experts in the field of ophthalmology to emphasise the importance of early detection and treatment of glaucoma to prevent eye impairment. The experts also shed light on the essential measures for managing risk and prevention techniques, as well as the latest developments in treatment.
World Glaucoma Week is celebrated annually in March to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment of glaucoma. World Glaucoma Week serves as an important platform to draw attention to the growing public health concern of glaucoma and the need for improved eye health systems to prevent vision impairment. It is a reminder of the urgent need for increased efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat glaucoma to ensure a brighter future for individuals and communities affected by this devastating eye disease.
Globally, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. It is estimated to cause blindness in 4.5 million people worldwide, whereas in India, out of 12 million people who are suffering from glaucoma, 1.2 million people are blind owing to this disease as per 2012 statistics. Despite this, glaucoma is largely undiagnosed, with more than 90 percent of untreated cases. It has become a growing cause of concern for the country. Being a progressive and irreversible condition of blindness, early detection and management is of utmost importance.
Glaucoma is an eye conditions that can lead to vision loss if left untreated. It is a disease that damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma typically progresses slowly over time and can cause gradual loss of peripheral vision, eventually leading to blindness if not treated.
Dr. Barun Kumar Nayak, Head of the Ophthalmology Department at P. D. Hinduja National Hospital further added “Glaucoma mostly affects adults over 40, but young adults, children, and even infants can have it. Families with high myopes, diabetes and family history have a higher risk of developing this disease. Most people with open-angle glaucoma don’t have symptoms. If symptoms do develop, it’s usually late in the disease and the main sign is usually a loss of side or peripheral vision.
Dr. Manish Shah Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Co-ordinator, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre said “There are treatment options available for glaucoma, depending upon the patient’s condition. An ophthalmologist may prescribe eyedrops, oral medication, surgery, laser treatment or a combination of any of these. As the first treatment option, eye drops are effective in preventing further eye damage. To decrease eye pressure, these eyedrops improve the eye's ability to drain fluid or decrease the amount of fluid a patient’s eye produces. One may need more than one eyedrop depending on how low their eye pressure needs to be.”
It is essential to emphasise the necessity of yearly eye exams in order to detect glaucoma early and prevent visual loss. Highlighting the importance of timely intervention, Dr. Rishi Jain, Medical Director, Allergan an AbbVie Company said “Early detection is key to prevent vision loss, as once lost it cannot be reversed. Visit an ophthalmologist at least once every two years to get your eyes checked. The early symptoms of glaucoma are normally detectable during an eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Tonometry, ophthalmoscopy, and perimetry are simple tests for detecting increased eye pressure (tonometry), optic nerve damage (ophthalmoscopy), and vision loss (perimetry). Additionally, your doctor may perform other procedures, such as gonioscopy and pachymetry, which measure the angle between the cornea and iris.”
Adding to it Dr. Kulin Kothri, Founding Chairman of Bombay City Eye Institute & Research Centre
, said, “The present awareness and knowledge on glaucoma should be amplified further to ensure that people include eye check-up in their routine health examination. A patient should visit a doctor as soon as they start experiencing symptoms like severe headache, eye pain or blurry eyes. This will lead to early intervention by an ophthalmologist and adoption of a suitable treatment regimen on time.”
Proper and timely treatment can prevent further blindness. It is advisable to visit an ophthalmologist for regular preventive eye check-ups who can further conduct IOP pressure and recommend a healthy diet to protect your eyes., and Allergan, an AbbVie company, is committed to raising awareness about this important issue.