The eye problem has no symptoms, only regular checks can reveal it

Some commuters at Kankanady bus stand on Sunday morning got acquainted with “a silent thief”. Between alighting from a bus and boarding the next bus, they got to watch a short play that told them about glaucoma, an eye problem that is described in those terms because it is stealthy and does not announce itself with clear symptoms.

The street play, in Kannada, was about a household with no money to go for eye checks and how a woman wearing glasses at an anganwadi is teased by people. The teacher tells her about glaucoma and how she could get her eyes checked. The play said that people must get their eyes checked regularly, especially after the age of 40.

The street play was staged by students of the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Community Medicine, Father Muller Medical College (FMMC), to create awareness of glaucoma.

The street play was staged by 10 medical students.

Sudheer Prabhu of the Department of Community Medicine, FMMC, said that though eye issues such as cataract were well known, glaucoma, which has an increasing prevalence, was a neglected topic. More awareness among people of glaucoma was required because it can lead to blindness. People did not visit the ophthalmologist regularly. “Its symptoms are not very specific, so they must get their eyes checked once a year,” he said.

Street plays and the free medical camp for glaucoma are being held now to commemorate World Glaucoma Week (March 10 to 16), he said.

Asif, an autodriver, said that he watched some parts of the play till a passenger arrived. He said that the play was about “a problem of the eyes”.

Vidya, a commuter at Kankanady, said that she had not heard of glaucoma. She said she did not get her eyes checked every year and went to a doctor only when there was an evident health problem. In a group of five construction labourers, two took the information sheet on glaucoma from volunteers while the rest refused to take the sheet. Melanie Pinto, a second year MBBS student, FMMC, said that street plays about glaucoma were held in Jyothinagar and Mullakadu and the one at Kankanady was the third.

Glaucoma is called “the silent thief of sight” as most forms of glaucoma cause slow loss of vision, which may remain undetected till nerve damage is advanced, and the damage cannot be reversed. So awareness among the middle aged population about regular eye check-ups is the need of the hour, said a press release.

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