Screening family members of patients with glaucoma is mandatory, as this disease can affect siblings and children of patients with glaucoma in up to 10-20% of cases. Also, educating the general public on the harmful effects of prolonged steroid use can prevent serious and blinding steroid induced glaucoma that mostly affects children. Glaucoma is seen as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in India. It is a disorder associated with pressure in the eye, and is characterized by damage to the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. The disorder is not a single disease, but has multiple causes, with a final common insult, which is injury to the optic nerve.
Currently, 1.12 crore Indians suffer from glaucoma, with 11 lakh people blind. Though the exact cause of glaucoma in the majority of cases is not precisely known, it can occur in a minority due to a variety of causes ranging from the use of steroid eye drops, secondary to eye injury, or even complications after an eye surgery. Glaucoma more commonly affects people beyond the age of 40 years. High myopes, diabetics and those with a positive family history have higher risk of developing glaucoma.
What is worrying is that 90 percent of Glaucoma in the community is undetected, mostly because of lack of awareness. Most patients are unaware that:
a) They could be suffering from glaucoma, because the disease causes very late onset of symptoms, which could be as late as when they begin experiencing loss of vision;
b)Presenting themselves to eye care providers at a very late stage makes restoration of visual function quite impossible;
c) Early diagnosis can reduce progression of the disease and prevent blindness; and
d) All it takes to prevent such a situation is regular eye check-up or screening.
Staying informed is the first step to tackle glaucoma, hence the need for public awareness campaigns.
The following are the key events chalked out for the Glaucoma Awareness Week:
1. March 9: Glaucoma Awareness Walk
· @Hyderabad, 7am – 8am: From Prasad Labs to Jubilee Hills Check Post and back
o To participate, contact Arun - 040 30612632 (email@example.com)
2. March 14: Patient Education Forum
· @Hyderabad, 4pm – 6pm: Kallam Anji Reddy Campus, Banjara Hills, Road No. 2,
o To participate contact Arun - 040 30612632 / 09700778199 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
· @Visakhapatnam, 3pm – 5pm: GMR Varalakshmi Campus, Hanumanthawaka Junction
o To participate, contact K Gopal - 0891 3984555 / 09396712020 (email@example.com)
· @Bhubaneswar, 3.30pm – 5.30pm: Patia, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (on March 13)
o To participate, contact Ms Sudipta Parida - 09338695059(
· @Vijayawada, 4pm – 6pm: Kode Venkatadri Chowdary Campus, Tadigadapa
o To participate, contact PV Kiran – 08099552020 / 08099552020(
3. March 16: “Glaucoma:
· @ LVPEI’s GMR Varalakshmi Campus, Hanumanthawaka Junction, Visakhapatnam 530040
· The CME will be networked on live video-link with all other centres: Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam
o contact K Gopal - 0891 3984555 / 09396712020 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
o Program Coordinator:
About L V Prasad Eye Institute
The L V Prasad Eye Institute provides high quality comprehensive eye care to all people; provides sight enhancement and rehabilitation services at the Institute and through its rural eye health network; offers professional ophthalmic training at all levels; and conducts cutting-edge eye care research. The Institute is a World Health Organization (WHO) Center for the Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020, a worldwide initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness led by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. For further information, visit the Institute’s website, www.lvpei.org
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli