Pertaining to the fact that Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and India stands second only after China in terms of its prevalence, awareness among the masses is the only way to prevent the major cause of visual impairment.
On the occasion of World Glaucoma Week 2020, All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS) launched their patient portal service along with the QR code on their website in public interest. The use of QR code was also permitted by the National Program for control of Blindness and Visual Impairment.
“My target would be to cause zero blindness from glaucoma and that can only happen, with increased awareness, increased screening and risk factor education and increased accessibility to correct treatment at the right time. As glaucoma is silent and chronic in nature, finding our glaucoma patients is not easy. Herein lies the effort and commitment that we all need to make programs to encourage us to focus in this direction, screening all patients for glaucoma, identifying risk factors and first degree relatives who have much higher chance of developing glaucoma, investigating them accurately and conclusively, instituting the correct treatment and following them to not only to monitor progress and side effects but also to ensure compliance.” Said Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev, President AIOS.
While blindness is the third most feared ailments after heart diseases and cancer, it is sad to know that glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. In India alone, over 1.2 crore people are affected by glaucoma with over 12 lakh of them losing their vision while 90% of them still remain undiagnosed.
“While glaucoma remains asymptomatic until 70-80% of vision is lost, people need to be made aware about early diagnostics in prevention of permanent blindness caused by Glaucoma. It should be noted that everybody should undergo bi annual eye examination after the age of 40 years and yearly after 50. The irreversible nature and the very real possibility of blindness needs to be emphasised to every patient to understand the seriousness of the disease. Developing a glaucoma registry data will also be highly beneficial in forming better healthcare policies” Said Dr Namrata Sharma, Secretary, AIOS
Attributing to the factors that the disease is asymptomatic in its nascent stages, any loss of vision cannot be reversed even though with the availability of very good treatment modalities, awareness about glaucoma among masses plays a vital role.