Glaucoma cases on rise

Glaucoma cases on rise

At present, 12 million people in India suffer silently from killer of the eye sight

An estimated 12 million people suffer from Glaucoma silently in India at present and the number is expected to increase to 16 million by 2020.

This alarming statistic came to the fore at the 19th annual conference of Glaucoma Society of India under the aegis of Karnataka Ophthalmic Society,  jointly hosted by Narayana Nethralaya and Vittala International Institute of Ophthalmology here on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, Dr D Nagaraj, director, Nimhans, said, “Apart from diagnosis and treatment, it is also important to educate the masses about Glaucoma. Doctors from Public Health Centres in villages to City-based specialty hospitals must be educated about how to test Glaucoma.”

Glaucoma is considered as a ‘silent killer of eye sight’ and develops usually after the age of 40 years. It is irreversible optic nerve damage where the pressure inside the eye increases developing an important risk factor. Glaucoma is asymptomatic where the patient has no visual complaints. Doctors said that in the beginning only the peripheral vision is affected, which slowly extends to the central visual field and subsequently causes total blindness.

Dr Ronnie J George, Secretary of Glaucoma Society of India, said that awareness level is still very low in India. “Glaucoma disease is a global problem where two per cent of the population develops this condition. While nearly 90 per cent of patients in India develop Glaucoma without early diagnosis, in the west only about 50 per cent develop this eye problem,” he said.

He added that Glaucoma can be prevented only by increasing awareness and early diagnosis.