BANGALORE: The third leading cause for blindness in India, glaucoma is a scourge afflicting a large section of the population irrespective of their age. According to WHO estimates, almost 60.5 million people are blind because of glaucoma. In India, 2.5 per cent of the population, which is about 11.9 million, are afflicted with glaucoma. In South India, almost 90 per cent of the people who suffer from glaucoma have no idea of this disease due to lack of awareness of warning symptoms and regular medical checkups.
Known to be a serious affliction, glaucoma arises because of an elevation in pressure inside the eye caused by a build-up of excess fluid. However, an ophthalmologist says that if this silent killer is left untreated, this disease can permanently impair vision by causing irreversible damage to the optic nerves and eventually, blindness.
Dr Sirish Nelivigi, head of the department, Glaucoma, Nethradhama Hospitals says, “Glaucoma is the most common cause for blindness after cataract but unlike cataract, it is irreversible. This is a burden not only to the family, but also to the society. The only way to tackle this is through regular eye-checkups and screening tests.”
Incidentally, a large number of people with glaucoma still remain undiagnosed. Glaucoma which results in peripheral vision loss, and is a dangerous eye condition because it gradually progresses without obvious symptoms . It can affect any age group, including newborns, infants, children and elderly. Blindness from glaucoma is irreversible. However, early detection is the key to preserving vision. Glaucoma is the largest cause of bilateral blindness, second only to the cataract.