Awareness on glaucoma is a must

Namrata Devikar
Friday, 16 March 2018

Timely diagnosis and medication can save patients’ eyes

Pune: According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, around 90 per cent of all glaucoma patients remain undiagnosed. Glaucoma refers to damage to the nerve of the eye due to increase in eye pressure and damage to the drainage of the fluid of the eye, which may lead to blindness.

There are usually no symptoms in this type of open-angle glaucoma, which results in late detection. Doctors from the city explain the need for more awareness on the occasion of World Glaucoma Week.

There are many types of glaucoma, but the most common is the open angle glaucoma, which is a silent thief of sight. Other types of glaucoma are angle-closure glaucoma, congenital glaucoma and inflammatory glaucoma, which usually present some signs and are rare.

The prevalence of glaucoma is about two to 15 per cent in the Indian population, according to the Glaucoma Society of India. This means approximately 12 million people have glaucoma, which is 1/5th of the world’s burden of glaucoma.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Samita Moolani, eye specialist from Moolani Eye Care Center (MECC), said that anyone of any age can get glaucoma.

“Those with family history, high blood pressure, diabetes and high spectacle numbers are at a higher risk. Some eye drops like steroids can also raise the eye pressure causing glaucoma,” said Dr Moolani.

She also said that one of her patients was diagnosed with glaucoma because of use of unsupervised eye drops such as steroids.

“The 25-year-old male swimmer had repetitive red eyes and itching. He went to a chemist, who gave him some eye drops, which used to give him relief. He used this eyedrop for over two years. When he visited our centre, he claimed to be having a hazy vision in one eye. Examination revealed that there was very high pressure in one eye. Due to careless use of these drops, he had also developed a cataract in one eye, which was causing the haziness. The patient was later operated for cataract and was put on anti-glaucoma drops until the pressure became normal, which took over a year. Luckily, he had not lost any sight yet,” noted Dr Moolani. 

Highlighting the lack of awareness, Dr Chitra Sambhare from Jehangir Hospital said that a lot of people are left with tunnel vision, which is the peripheral vision is lost and the detection happens late because of lack of awareness.

“Regular eye check-up, optic nerve check and eye pressure checks must be done for everyone for early detection. Those diagnosed with glaucoma will need to use eye drops daily to keep the eye pressure in check. Less commonly glaucoma surgery or laser surgery may have to be done in case medicines are not working or the patient cannot afford expensive eye drops. There is a serious need for awareness about glaucoma, as vision can be totally lost,” said Dr Sambhare.

Several Types 
- There are many types of glaucoma, but the most common is the open angle glaucoma, which is a silent thief of sight. 
- Other types of glaucoma are angle-closure glaucoma, congenital glaucoma and inflammatory glaucoma, which usually present some signs and are rare.
- The prevalence of glaucoma is about two to 15 per cent in the Indian population, according to the Glaucoma Society of India.

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