Managing Glaucoma, The Second Leading Cause Of Blindness

World Glaucoma Week is celebrated annually in March to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment of glaucoma

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 are of utmost importance.

Glaucoma is an eye conditions that can lead to irreversible blindness 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.

Talking about the common risk factors of glaucoma, Dr. Suneeta Dubey, Medical Director, Director Glaucoma Services, and Chairperson-Quality Assurance at Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospitalsaid, “Various factors can contribute to the development of glaucoma. In general, an average individual has a 2.3% risk of developing glaucoma in his/her lifetime. However, certain factors can significantly increase the risk of developing glaucoma. One of the most significant risk factors is genetics, as individuals with a parent or sibling with glaucoma have a ten-fold increased risk of developing the disease. 

Other factors that may increase the risk of developing glaucoma include having other medical conditions such as short- or long-sightedness, high blood pressure, diabetes, or having undergone certain eye surgeries. Age is also a significant risk factor, with the risk of glaucoma increasing significantly after the age of 60. Another very important factor is use of steroid as eyedrop or systemic use. By understanding the various risk factors associated with glaucoma, individuals can take proactive steps to reduce their risk.”

Adding to the measures to be taken, Dr. Deven Tuli, Senior Consultant Glaucoma at the ASG Narang Eye Center in New Delhi, said “Even though there is no preventive treatment for glaucoma except regular eye exams, you can follow certain measures to manage your eye health. It involves taking vitamins and minerals necessary for good eye health (such as zinc, copper, selenium and vitamins A, C, and E), exercising appropriately (after consulting your doctor), limiting caffeine intake, drinking plenty of fluids, sleeping with your head raised and strictly adhering to your medication schedule.”

It is essential to emphasise the necessity of yearly eye exams 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. JC Das, Sr. Most Glaucoma Specialist said, “The present awareness and knowledge on glaucoma should be amplified further to ensure that people include eye check-ups in their routine health examination. A patient should visit an ophthalmologist as soon as they start experiencing mid symptoms like eye pain or blurry eyes. This will lead to the 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 Fundus Examination to recommend a healthy diet to protect your eyes, and Allergan, an AbbVie company, is committed to raising awareness about this important issue.

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