Advance Eye Centre at PGIMER, Chandigarh, receives 200 to 300 patients of glaucoma every day. The condition, the cause for which remains unknown and the treatment for which is costly, continues to boggle doctors. To commemorate World Glaucoma Week from March 10-16, the centre planned a chain of activities in order to spread more awareness about glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness in India.
Glaucoma is associated with increasing eye pressure, which leads to damaging of optic nerves, leading to irreversible blindness. Dr Surinder Pandav told Newsline, ‘’Only 10 per cent of patients of glaucoma know about the disease. The rest 90 per cent of the sufferers are unaware of this ‘sneak thief of sight’. A newly diagnosed patient of glaucoma needs to have his eye pressure checked every week or month until it is under control.’’ He added that in India,every eighth individual or nearly 40 million of total population have either glaucoma or are at risk of developing the disease.
Dr Priyanka Gajria, secretary of a glaucoma support group, said, ‘’Glaucoma is an incurable disease but we can restrict it with proper and regular treatment. Till date, the exact cause of glaucoma is unknown. One who has Glaucoma need lifelong treatment and the average expenses per month is about Rs 12,000, which is not affordable for all. ‘’
Dr Gajria added, ‘’ In early stages glaucoma, usually there are no symptoms, which makes it more dangerous. By the time you notice the problem, the disease has progressed to the point that irreversible vision loss has already occurred and additional loss may be difficult to stop.’’
‘’We get 200 to 300 patients every day. We have examined around 38,000 patients from April, 2018 to March, 2019. During the same period around 4,600 new cases of glaucoma were registered,’’ said Dr Faisal of PGI.