Hyderabad, March 9, 2018: L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) plans a series of activities to commemorate World Glaucoma Week, from March 11 -17, 2018, to bring public focus on the eye disease that affects both adults and children. A Glaucoma Awareness Walk is being organised on March 11 to create more understanding and knowledge on Glaucoma, which is seen as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in India.
Glaucoma is a disorder associated with increase in the eye pressure and is characterized by damage to the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. Currently in India, every 8th individual or nearly 40 million has either glaucoma or is at risk of developing the disease. 11.2 million Indians suffer from the disease with 1.1 million blind, including children. Glaucoma more commonly affects people beyond the age of 40 years. High myopes, diabetics and those with a positive family history have higher risk of developing glaucoma. Screening family members of patients with glaucoma is mandatory, as this disease can affect siblings and children of patients with glaucoma in up to 10‐20% of cases.
The focus this year is on ‘Childhood and Glaucoma’. Childhood glaucoma affects more than 300,000 children across the world and 2/3 of these children are already blind with ¾ of them living in developing countries. The high prevalence rate of primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) in the developing world is due to higher parental consanguinity in some communities. There is also a high incidence of secondary glaucoma associated with congenital cataract surgery, accidental trauma and use of steroid eye drops for eye allergy. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for most childhood glaucoma, especially the congenital type of glaucoma, with early surgery leading to a better prognosis. However, in developing countries children tend to present late with advanced disease at presentation, resulting in delayed diagnosis and surgery hence high prevalence of blindness. The only way to decrease the burden of this serious problem is to create public awareness about the causes, the way these conditions present and the treatment options and our awareness campaign this year focuses on glaucoma in children.
L V Prasad Eye Institute is organizing a Glaucoma Education Forum on March 14th to educate the general public on the need for periodic eye check-up and the harmful effects of prolonged steroid use.
Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if it is diagnosed and treated early, the disease can be controlled. Loss of vision caused by glaucoma is irreversible and cannot be restored. However, successfully lowering eye pressure can help prevent further visual loss from glaucoma. Most people with glaucoma do not go blind if they follow their treatment plan and have regular eye exams. Dr Sirisha Senthil, Head of Glaucoma Service at LVPEI said, “Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, hence it is important to see your eye doctor regularly so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.”