Guard against Glaucoma, the silent thief of vision

Dr. B. Pranathi, senior consultant and head of the department of ophthalmology (cataract, glaucoma, and refractive surgeon) at KIMS Hospitals, Secunderabad said glaucoma is a condition where a long-term elevated intraocular pressure causes degeneration or damage of the optic nerve, thereby causing permanent visual loss.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  7 Jan 2023 3:30 AM GMT
Guard against Glaucoma, the silent thief of vision

Hyderabad: On the occasion of National Glaucoma Awareness Week (3–9 January), doctors have cautioned the public about the silent thief of vision, Glaucoma, about which awareness is inadequate among the majority of the population. If identified earlier and if timely intervention is made, it can prevent subsequent vision loss.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive, blinding disease with an incidence of 79.6 million people worldwide and 12 million in India alone. It is a matter of concern that in India, annually, nearly 1.2 million people become permanently blind due to glaucoma. There is not much awareness and timely treatment as there are hardly any symptoms except occasional headache and at times swelling and pain in the eye, especially in the case of the elderly.

Dr. B. Pranathi, senior consultant and head of the department of ophthalmology (cataract, glaucoma, and refractive surgeon) at KIMS Hospitals, Secunderabad said glaucoma is a condition where a long-term elevated intraocular pressure causes degeneration or damage of the optic nerve, thereby causing permanent visual loss. "However, 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 and slowly progressing to involve the central field," he said.

Types of glaucoma; risks

Glaucoma can be of various types and affect people of various ages. "The types include congenital glaucoma, which is present from birth; juvenile glaucoma, which is present in adolescence; adult onset glaucoma, which can be primary open angle glaucoma or angle closure glaucoma and secondary glaucoma, which occur due to various causes like ocular injuries, chronic steroid usage and so on," explained Dr. Pranathi.

As per medical experts, some of the risk factors for glaucoma include, high myopes/high hyperopes that is people with large refractive errors, genetic predisposition or people with a family history of glaucoma, people with a history of ocular injuries, people consuming medications like steroids in any form for systemic illnesses, those with chronic diabetes and hypertensives.

Importance of early detection

Elaborating on early detection of glaucoma and newer treatment modalities, Dr. K.V.N.R Sandya, consultant ophthalmologist and Phaco surgeon at KIMS Icon Hospital, Vizag, said, "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 and thereby, presenting at late stages of the 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."

Pointers

· Globally, the incidence of glaucoma is 79.6 million people.

· The incidence of glaucoma is around 12 million in India.

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