World Glaucoma Week will be celebrated from 10 to 16 March, 2019. The main objective of this week is to eliminate glaucoma blindness by motivating people to have regular eye check up, including optic nerve examination. It is reported that while anyone has about 2.3% lifetime risk of glaucoma, first degree relatives (FDRs) of glaucoma patient have a ten-fold increase in risk of glaucoma. So, making FDRs aware of the need for glaucoma by glaucoma investigations including examination of optic nerve may save blindness in large number of people.
Glaucoma is a term used to describe group of diseases of the eye, characterized by progressive and irreversible damage to the optic nerve (nerve of the eye responsible for vision) and which, if untreated, may lead to blindness. One of the important factors is increase in pressure of the eye, but people with normal eye pressure can also develop glaucoma. According to WHO, there are several types of glaucoma, however, the two most common are, primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and insidious onset, and angle closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common and tends to be more acute.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide. WHO has estimated that 4.5 million people are blind due to glaucoma. In India, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness with at least 12 million people affected and nearly 1.2 million people blind from the disease. More than 90 percent of cases of glaucoma remain undiagnosed in the community. Glaucoma prevalence increases with age.
Little is known about the prevention of glaucoma, however, early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.
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