VIJAYAWADA:Calling it a silent thief of eyesight, ophthalmologists in the city call for awareness on glaucoma, cases of which are on the rise in the 40-45 age group. They also say increase in the number of congenital glaucoma cases among children in the last few months is a cause for concern.
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that causes irreversible visual loss, usually without warning until reaching a relatively advanced stage and it is often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye.
Glaucoma is most commonly seen in elderly people who suffer from diabetes, hypertension and those with family history of the disease. However, these days high eye pressure is said to be causing the disease by damaging optic fibre.
“In the olden days, it was very difficult to identify glaucoma cases due to lack of awareness among people. But, with the advancement in technology and due to health consciousness among people, we are identifying the cases easily. It is important to emphasise upon the fact that with newer and better medication and safer surgery, early treatment can stabilise glaucoma vision loss and prevent blindness,” explained K Vijay Sekhar, an ophthalmologist at the Old Government General Hospital from the city.
The Old Government General Hospital as well as private hospitals are, on an average, witnessing more than 20 glaucoma cases, a few of them in advanced stage, every week for the last two months. “There is an increase of 10-15 per cent in the cases these days, particularly among women aged between 40 and 45 years,” Vijay Sekhar said.
Headache, vomiting sensation and frequent changing of spectacles are symptoms of glaucoma. The affected persons could lose peripheral vision gradually. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops and in advanced conditions surgery is the only way, he added.
These days, congenital glaucoma is found in a large number of children. Tackling this has become a major challenge as the symptoms do not show up in the initial stages. It is usually found in children when they are three to six months old but it is diagnosed only when they attain 3 years of age. Most parents visit the doctor when the vision of their wards is lost or when they complain of watering of eyes and inability to keep the eyes open.