Coimbatore

‘Routine screening for glaucoma in high risk groups a must’

Eye hospitals conducting awareness programmes to mark World Glaucoma Week

While 3% to 5% of Indians are at a risk of glaucoma, 90% of them are yet to be diagnosed, say doctors. They feel that increased awareness was needed to encourage the public to undergo routine and complete eye evaluation with stress on glaucoma detection.

Eye hospitals in the city are conducting awareness programmes between March 10 and 16, observing World Glaucoma Week.

“Glaucoma is a group of chronic neuro degenerative disease of the optic nerve characterised by progressive visual field deterioration and ultimately resulting in irreversible blindness. This is most commonly associated with high intra ocular pressure or pressure in the eye,” says Sathyan Parthasarathi, director of Sathyan Eye Care Hospital and Coimbatore Glaucoma Foundation.

Studies show that around 11.2 million Indians above the age of 40 years are likely to be inflicted with glaucoma amounting to 12.8% of blindness in the country.

“Individuals with perfect vision could still have or develop glaucoma since the disease usually affects peripheral vision first and central vision last,” says Dr. Parthasarathi, who is also the president of the Coimbatore Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons (CSOS).

According to Chitra Ramamurthy, medical director of The Eye Foundation, glaucoma leads to gradual, painless loss of vision with raised eye pressure being the triggering factor.

“This symptomless trend of the disease, if undetected, could lead to progression of this condition. Individuals at risk of glaucoma are those over 40, people who have diabetes, high myopia, injury, inflammations, a positive family history, steroid intake and congenital eye disorders.

Some studies estimate that only 50% of patients with glaucoma have had an eye examination in the past. This makes routine screening for glaucoma in high risk groups a must and it is aptly called a silent thief of sight,” she said.

Commemorating the awareness week, Eye Foundation will offer free evaluation for glaucoma for all during from March 11 to 16. Patients will also be given free anti glaucoma medication during the week depending on the availability, said a release issued by the hospital. Sathyan Eye Care Hospital will offer free glaucoma screening for attenders of patients under its family screening initiative during the six days.

CSOS and the Indian Medical Association together will conduct an awareness rally on glaucoma on March, 16 in the city.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 1:18:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/routine-screening-for-glaucoma-in-high-risk-groups-a-must/article26493160.ece

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