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18 lakh Indians have glaucoma. Have you checked your eyes yet?

March 20, 2018 12:40 IST

The condition that affects lakhs of Indians has no warning symptoms.
Seventy per cent of those diagnosed with glaucoma are under 35 yrs.

Glaucoma: Have you checked your eyes yet?

With over 70 per cent of the Indians at a risk of developing glaucoma, on an average, over two lakh of them lose vision.

It is known to be a silent ailment that can lead to blindness and hence creating awareness among the masses is necessary to prevent glaucoma from becoming an epidemic.

"Awareness should be spread to eliminate blindness caused by glaucoma by encouraging people to get regular eye checks done which also includes optic nerve examination. It is important to educate people about the disease which has no symptoms but can cause blindness silently by damaging the optic nerve. People with a family history of diabetes, hypertension, and poor blood circulation are especially at an elevated risk of getting the condition and hence should visit an ophthalmologist regularly," said Dr Ritika Sachdev, MS, additional director medical services, Centre for Sight

Why you should worry

According to the statistics of WHO, glaucoma is the second largest cause of blindness in the world and fourth largest in India.

According to National Health Portal India survey 2017, it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness with estimated cases around 18 lakh.

Though average age for prevalence of glaucoma is over 50 years, but with sedentary lifestyle and westernisation, the average age is getting shorter.

Moreover it has recently been observed that of the total cases diagnosed with the condition, over 70 per cent of them are under the age of 35 years.

Dr Sachdev further said, "Due to the damage caused silently to the optic nerve carrying information from the eye to the brain, a group of eye disorders may occur known as glaucoma. Many people with history of hypertension have a myth that drinking plenty of water in the morning will also help in reducing the intra-ocular pressure along with certain breathing exercises. This may not be true if you already have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and apparently the condition can worsen. It is thus necessary to consult the ophthalmologist on a regular basis to get the ocular pressure checked, and follow what they prescribe."

If the condition continues, glaucoma is all set to become an epidemic especially in the younger generation and public awareness is thus important.

What you can do

Prevention of glaucoma purely depends on regular checkups, early diagnosis and timely treatment which are helpful to prevent vision loss.

People with regular changes in spectacles, myopic condition or those who have undergone eye surgery and are prescribed with long term corticosteroid medications are at a greater risk of developing glaucoma as well. Hence necessary precautions should be taken to prevent vision loss.

ALSO SEE: What kills 1.7 mn Indians every year

Lead image -- a still from Vicky Donor -- used for representational purposes only.