DON’T BE BLIND SIDED BY GLAUCOMA!
BE AWARE, IT DOESN’T COME WITH A WARNING!
Welcome to World Glaucoma Week 2021
#glaucomaweek! March 7-13, 2021
THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL!
Each year, the World Glaucoma Week adopts a common theme, which is adapted to local conditions, and yet unifies our efforts. To be effective, community awareness projects need to be relevant for the general population.
GLAUCOMA WEEK 2021
The World Glaucoma Week (Blue Water) is celebrated every year in March to boost awareness on the Blue Water Disease (Glaucoma) and the international increase in the number of persons affected with it compared to the growth of population.
Every year, international eye health organisations, universities, opticians and patients alike combine efforts to raise awareness of the widespread effects of glaucoma. Known as the ‘silent thief of sight’. World Glaucoma Week (WGW) is a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and the World Glaucoma Patient Network (WGPN) to raise awareness on glaucoma.
The 2021 theme reflects the hope that with regular testing, people continue to see the world around us: full of beauty, charm, and adventure. The world is bright, save your sight! The goal is to alert everyone to have regular eye (and optic nerve) checks to detect glaucoma as early as possible.
The observation is designed to spread awareness and understanding about the importance of early detection of glaucoma, the world’s second leading cause of blindness. WHO has estimated that 4.5 million people are blind due to glaucoma! In India, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness with at least 12 million people affected and nearly 1.2 million people blind from the disease.
Experts estimate that half of the people with glaucoma are unaware of their condition and could be slowly losing their sight because their glaucoma has not been diagnosed or treated. More than 90 percent of cases of glaucoma remain undiagnosed in the community. Glaucoma prevalence increases with age.
WHAT IS GLUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers damage due to increased pressure inside the eye leading to an inability to sight. If a patient does not take medicine regularly, blindness may occur.
Glaucoma is a term used to describe group of diseases of the eye, characterized by progressive and irreversible damage to the optic nerve (nerve of the eye responsible for vision) and which, if untreated, may lead to blindness. One of the important factors is increase in pressure of the eye, but people with normal eye pressure can also develop glaucoma. Glaucoma was named (blue water) as the patient sees sometimes blue halos around the sources of light.
TYPES OF GLUCOMA
According to WHO, there are several types of glaucoma, however, the two most common are primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and insidious onset, and angle closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common and tends to be more acute.
CAN IT BE CURED?
If diagnosed without delay and treated promptly and effectively there may be almost complete and permanent recovery of vision. Delay may cause loss of sight in the affected eye. Occasionally the eye pressure may remain a little raised and treatment is required as for chronic glaucoma.
ELIMINATE GLAUCOMA BLINDNESS!
To eliminate glaucoma blindness, there are several issues that need to be addressed. Glaucoma usually gives no warning until it is advanced, but the damage it causes to vision is ongoing and could become irreversible. Fortunately, for many patients, treatment can halt the damage. That means the earlier the diagnosis, the more vision there is to save and the less likely the person is to become blind. Therefore, the World Glaucoma Week aims at alerting members of the broader community to the need for regular simple eye checks, which allow earlier detection and hence, saved sight.
Being proactive with your eye health by having an eye test at least once every 2 years is the best way to diagnose glaucoma and gives you a chance to preserve your vision. You know what you shouldn’t do? Fall for misinformation about the condition – and trust us, there’s a lot of it circulating online.
So, on this glaucoma week, we’ve put together 5 common myths about glaucoma – and the truth behind them – so you have all the facts you need to protect your vision.
Myth #1: If you don’t experience any symptoms, you won’t develop glaucoma
Fact:They don’t call glaucoma the ‘silent thief of sight’ for nothing! Most people won’t realise they’re having symptoms until it’s too late. As it starts from your peripheral vision and works its way inward, you’re less likely to notice it. That’s why you need to have an eye test, during which your optician will take a look at the back of your eyes, to diagnose glaucoma.
Myth #2: No one in my family has glaucoma, so I won’t get the condition
Fact:A family history of glaucoma is a risk factor, but many glaucoma patients are the first in their family to be diagnosed with the condition. Equally, many are not aware that people in their family have been affected by glaucoma, so it’s really important for those with a glaucoma diagnosis to encourage their family members to visit their optician.
Myth #3: Glaucoma only affects people above 60
Fact:While glaucoma is most common in those over 60, it can affect people of all ages, even babies. Opticians recommend checking your baby’s eyesight within 72 months from birth and then every year after that. Adults should stick to routine eye tests, but those at higher risk should check with their optician as they might have to make their visits more regular.
Myth #4: Glaucoma only affects one eye
Fact:Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but it starts with one eye first, making loss of vision especially hard to notice. But if it does get diagnosed at that stage, and you begin treatment right away, you can stop symptoms in their tracks, and preserve your vision.
Myth #5: Vision lost as a result of glaucoma can be recovered
Fact:When you start noticing loss of vision, it’s already too late to do anything about it. The effects of glaucoma are irreversible – that’s why it’s so important to have a routine eye test at least every 2 years and get in touch with your optician if you notice any changes in the meantime. While you can’t turn back time, glaucoma symptoms can be controlled and treated with eye drops, oral medication, laser therapy or surgery, preventing any further damage after diagnosis.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most people with glaucoma are not aware of it: most glaucoma patients have zero symptoms. Catch the disease early and you have a great chance of preserving your vision for the years to come.