World Glaucoma Day 2022
"The world is bright, save your sight" is the theme of this World Glaucoma Day. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness that can be easily prevented through early detection and treatment.
It is not possible to reverse blindness due to glaucoma. But many people are not even aware of their condition until it is too late. Even if they were aware, they might not get timely access to healthcare to treat their vision damage.
A Day Dedicated To Glaucoma:
Do you know that there is a day dedicated to spreading awareness about glaucoma? 12th of March is celebrated as World Glaucoma Day, and the week preceding this day (6th to 12th March 2022) is World Glaucoma Week. It is an initiative of the World Glaucoma Association to spread awareness about glaucoma on a global level. This World Glaucoma Week consists of an active engagement between patients, healthcare providers, policymakers, media and the public to promote early eye checkups to detect glaucoma in its earliest stage.
Why Do We Celebrate World Glaucoma Day?
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, a significant nerve of the eyes. It gradually steals your eye vision and peace of mind. The burden it causes on a person's mental health and quality of life is no joke. It also leads to possible accidents and death. Hence, it is essential to dedicate one day to spreading awareness about glaucoma and its health risk as the number of people suffering from this eye condition keeps increasing exponentially every year.
Challenges Of Glaucoma:
Although the awareness of glaucoma is improving and more people realise this eye condition is more common than they think, the process of eradicating blindness still has a long way to go. Here are a few critical challenges to address this world glaucoma day:
1. Stage of glaucoma:
Since glaucoma awareness is low and many patients do not experience any symptoms until it is too late, ophthalmologists face a considerable challenge to preserve the patients' remaining vision. Glaucoma is a long-term condition that progresses to irreversible blindness. It generally occurs in both eyes, but the pressure builds up in one eye, where vision changes happen, leading to vision loss. The changes in eyesight could be so minute that one can barely notice the difference. Hence many patients visit the ophthalmologist's clinic when their eye condition has advanced.
2. Lack of access to treatment:
Not everyone can easily access healthcare for their eye conditions. Especially in a developing country like India, where more people struggle financially, access to hospitals and health care remains a considerable challenge. When access to healthcare is not adequate, the possibility of early detection becomes highly unlikely.
3, Compliance to treatment:
Even in areas where the awareness about glaucoma is better than before, and many patients are coming forward to accessing treatments, complying with treatment protocols is a huge challenge when it comes to managing the cost of medicines, attending follow up sessions, taking medications regularly, etc.
Many people discontinue their medications without consulting their ophthalmologists, only to end up in an advanced stage of glaucoma later. The main reasons for this include forgetfulness, lack of affordability to treatment, unbearable side effects, loss of interest, etc.
4. Beliefs in misconceptions:
Several misconceptions and speculations surround glaucoma due to the lack of public awareness of the condition. The moment people start believing these myths is when they stop taking their eye health seriously. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about glaucoma and their corresponding facts you need to know this world glaucoma day:
- "Glaucoma occurs only at old age": Although glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in old people, it is not restricted to old age alone. People of any age and health condition can develop eye pressure and get diagnosed with glaucoma. Even babies and small children develop glaucoma due to underlying health issues.
- "You cannot get glaucoma if your eyesight is normal": Perfect vision does not guarantee that you will never get glaucoma. Since many do not face any early signs, checking your eye health regularly is advisable, even if you have perfect vision.
- "There is no cure for glaucoma": Though this is partially true, glaucoma can be effectively managed with timely detection and treatment. Several medications are available to reduce eye pressure and stop the condition from progressing.
- "If medications do not work, nothing else will": If medicines do not manage glaucoma, there are several other treatment options to consider. Laser application and surgery can do wonders even if medications do not work for you.
Possible Ways To Know If You Are At Risk For Glaucoma:
Early detection is the best key to prevent Glaucoma. Regular eye examinations and treatment can preserve your vision.
Let's Discuss 5 Common Diagnostic Tests For Glaucoma:
1. Tonometry: The test is very effective in detecting glaucoma by giving accurate results. It is done with a tool called a tonometer. It is done by a medical device with a special magnifying lens that helps in checking for any optical damage.
2. Ophthalmoscopy: In this test doctors evaluate the optic nerve by its color, shape, depth, and size. It is done by a medical device with a special magnifying lens that helps in checking for any optical damage.
3. Pachymetry: If your cornea is thin, it puts you at risk of getting glaucoma. A device called pachymeter is involved in this test which measures the thickness of the cornea and it is a simple and painless procedure.
4. Perimetry: This method measures the peripheral and central vision. It is a visual field testing which detects thetotal area of side and peripheral vision while the eye is focused on a central point.
5. Gonioscopy: This test is used to evaluate the anterior chamber axis, an angle where the cornea and iris meet. It is used to check the internal drainage system of the eyes.
What Can You Do This World Glaucoma Day?
You can actively participate in this world glaucoma day to create awareness in your locality. Lookup for events initiated by various organisations in your area. Several organisations come forward this day to host different events to contribute to spreading awareness. You can also create events on your own like fundraising, marathons, social media campaigns, etc. and submit them to the World Glaucoma Association. You can offer your valuable contribution by supporting glaucoma patients in the hospitals of your locality by funding their screening tests and educating them about their condition.
Early detection is the key to stopping glaucoma from progressing. It is mandatory to go for eye examination regularly. Once you hit 40, you should get baseline eye screening at least yearly. If you have other health issues like diabetes, hypertension or glaucoma runs in your family; you should check with your ophthalmologist to schedule your appointments accordingly.