World Glaucoma Week: Experts Stress on Routine Eye Checks
World Glaucoma Week is designed to spread awareness and understanding about the importance of early detection of glaucoma, the world’s second leading cause of blindness.Experts estimate that half of the people with glaucoma are unaware of their condition, and could be slowly losing their sight because their glaucoma has not been diagnosed or treated.As the numbers are expected to increase exponentially, it is a growing public health concern that needs more attention and effective eye health systems. The active coming together of the international community with colleagues and key stakeholders through events to stimulate awareness and dialogue is a show of our shared commitment to improving glaucoma care for patients around the world.
Adding about the current glaucoma situation in India, Dr. Maneesh Singh, Director, Netralayam, The Super-speciality Eye care centre said “The prevalence of glaucoma in India varies between rural and urban areas. This can be attributed to several factors, such as lifestyle changes, increased life expectancy, and The burden of glaucoma in India is expected to increase in the coming years due to several factors such as an aging population, lifestyle changes, and an increase in chronic diseases like diabetes, which is a risk factor for glaucoma. Therefore, it is essential to increase awareness about glaucoma, improve access to eye care services, and develop effective screening programs, particularly in rural areas.”
Dr. Debasis Chakrabarti, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Glaucoma and Cataract Services, at Centre For Sight, Kolkata added “There are numerous myths and false beliefs regarding glaucoma that may discourage people from getting the treatment and care they need. The idea that glaucoma only affects older people is among the most common misconceptions about the disease. Although elderly people are indeed more likely to get glaucoma, it can afflict anyone at any age, including infants and young adults. In addition, regardless of age, those with a family history of the illness are at a higher risk. The idea that glaucoma primarily affects those with high eye pressure is another widespread myth. Even though having high eye pressure increases your risk of developing glaucoma, it’s not the sole risk factor. “
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 year 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.”
Dr. Partha Biswas, Medical Director, Trenetralaya, Kolkata and Chairperson, Scientific Committee, All India Ophthalmology Society elaborated on the various measures that can help reduce the risk of developing glaucoma. “Regular eye exams are essential for identifying glaucoma early before any serious damage occurs. Every year, those over 40 should undergo a comprehensive eye exam, and those at higher risk (such as those with a family history of the condition) should get check-ups more frequently. Early detection by regular eye check up is the best way of tackling glaucoma. Another crucial aspect of glaucoma prevention is protecting the eyes from injury. Lastly managing underlying medical issues like diabetes and high blood sugar should be managed well in patients with glaucoma.
Proper and timely treatment can prevent further blindness. It is advisable to visit an ophthalmologist for regular preventive eye check-ups who can conduct special tests as needed and suggest treatment by medicines, lasers or glaucoma surgery. Allergan, an AbbVie company, is committed to raising awareness about this important issue.