COIMBATORE: By the end of this year, about 12 million people in the country, who are aged above 40, are likely to be afflicted with glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of preventable blindness.
The lack of awareness on the one hand and the absence of symptoms early on are reasons for the high incidence. But, early detection can help in preventing blindness, Medical Director of The Eye Foundation R. Chitra told presspersons here on Thursday.
The foundation was already conducting a free glaucoma detection and treatment camp to mark the World Glaucoma Day on March 12.
Stressing the need for such special efforts, Dr. Chitra and senior consultant Srinivas Rao said glaucoma was the most misunderstood problem that caused gradual, painless loss of vision. Increased eye pressure was the major causative factor.
As it did not show symptoms, people aged above 40 should undergo regular eye check-up for early detection, they said.
The associated risk factors were diabetes, high myopia (short sight), injury, inflammation, intake of steroid and congenital eye disorders.
The World Glaucoma Day was conceptualised to generate awareness among the public on the problem and encourage regular check-up.
On glaucoma incidence, Dr. Chitra said statistics revealed that three per cent to five per cent of Indians had the risk of glaucoma. Strategies should be drawn up at a larger level to conduct mass screening camps and to generate awareness on the warning signs.
The emphasis should be on complete eye evaluation for glaucoma detection.
The disease progressed slowly.
This, therefore, demanded frequent follow-up. Dr. Chitra said the foundation educated its patients regularly on the importance of screening for eye defects and glaucoma detection was a key component of this programme.