'90 pc of glaucoma cases could be prevented'

 Even as glaucoma continues to be one of the leading causes for permanent blindness across the world, ignorance about the problem and improper diagnosis persist, according to City-based opthalmologists.

Around 90 per cent of glaucoma cases could be prevented, according to the official website for World Glaucoma Week.

Speaking to Deccan Herald during World Glaucoma Week, Dr Sonal Chhaya, glaucoma consultant, Dr Solanki Eye Hospital, said the problem was known as “the silent thief of vision.” She said that as the disease did not have evident symptoms, only experts could detect it.

“There are no evident symptoms unlike problems such as cataract. It is from the extreme edges that the vision begins to fade. Patients in most cases misunderstand it to be an age-related issue,” she said.

Dr Chhaya said routine eye examination played an important role in diagnosis. “An annual eye checkup is ideal, as it is only an opthalmologist who will be able to identify the problem.”

Dr Sandeep Suresh Patil, opthalmologist, Sakra Eye Hospital, said early detection was the key. “In case of glaucoma, we can only slow down the progression of the disease. We can only ensure that the patient can have vision for a longer period. However, it is important to know that the same can be prevented,” he said.

A range of other health issues such as diabetes, myopia, use of steroids for a longer period of time act as risk factors for the eye disease, explained specialists. Dr K Bhujanga Shetty, chairman, Narayana Nethralaya, said eye injuries could be one of the major contributing factors for glaucoma.

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