HYDERABAD: Celebs, doctors, patients and public participated in the ‘Glaucoma Awareness Walk’ organised by LV Prasad Eye Institute on Sunday at Jubilee Hills.
The Walk was organised as part of the Glaucoma Awareness Week being held from March 8 to 14, to build awareness on the eye disease that affects both adults and children.
The theme for this year is ‘Big: Beat Invisible Glaucoma’ and the focus is on early detection and prevention of glaucoma through family screening.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Sirisha Senthil, head, Glaucoma Center, LVPEI said, “Glaucoma can lead to irreversible blindness, therefore the first step is to create awareness about it, which can ensure early diagnosis and prevention.”
The run coincided with International Womens’ Day on March 8.
Dr Sirisha said, “One in every 10 family members of glaucoma patients is affected with the disease, silently. This disease has no symptoms and significant vision is lost when detected.
It is critical to create public awareness, to inspire those at high risk for development of glaucoma to go in for a comprehensive eye check including glaucoma evaluation to prevent needless blindness from glaucoma.”
It is a disorder associated with increase in the eye pressure, and is characterised by damage to the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. Currently, in India, every eight individual or nearly 40 million aged 40 years or older either has glaucoma or is at risk of developing the disease. 11.2 million Indians suffer from the disease with 1.1 million turning blind, including children. 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. 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 per cent 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.
Dr G Chandra Sekhar said, through awareness patients should be empowered to ask the doctor to specifically check for glaucoma. Dr GN Rao said, “Everyone should undergo regular eye checkups and insist on eye pressure being checked by ophthalmologist during the check up.”
Late Akkineni Nageshwar Rao’s daughter Naga Susheela said, “My father had glaucoma and he took special care by undergoing regular checkups and treatment, that is how we all are aware of it and take extra precaution, as glaucoma is hereditary. Glaucoma is a silent disease and by the time one realises its often late.”