Glaucoma- Silent Blinder : Dr. Savita Bhat

 

He had noticed a very odd thing about his vision, but Mr. Raj Patil (name changed)- that busy, traveling, living-in-a-suitcase executive couldn’t quite put a name to it. Well, one day- he could ignore the blurred vision no more- and decided to have an eye check-up. He met an ophthalmologist- and was diagnosed with Glaucoma. Luckily, the problem was treated properly, and Mr. Patil can still read the fine print in the newspapers, as he waits in the traveling lounges of the world’s airports.

Well, one day- he could ignore the blurred vision no more- and decided to have an eye check-up. He met an ophthalmologist- and was diagnosed with Glaucoma. Luckily, the problem was treated properly, and Mr. Patil can still read the fine print in the newspapers, as he waits in the lounges of the world’s airports.

Mr. Raj is one among the millions worldwide who suffer from Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease where the surging pressures within the eyes soon affect vision and blindness follow, if untreated. Many patients ignore warning symptoms till it’s too late, and still others defer treatments till nothing can be done. Better awareness is obviously very important.

How do people know they have Glaucoma? There are various forms of Glaucoma but are broadly of two types. One which has symptoms blurry vision, headache, vomiting and eye pain, the other more devastating and symptomless. It is important to have an eye check-up for any troubling eye symptoms. It would be wiser to undergo an eye check up after 40 years of age including eye pressure measurement.

The treatment of Glaucoma is individualized to the person’s presentation and type. Usually, eye drops, pills, laser surgeries, traditional surgeries are all used alone or in combination. The goal of treatment is to prevent or limit vision loss. This is because of glaucoma-related vision loss, if established, is difficult to reverse. However, there is hope- with newer state-of-the-art technologies like coherence tomography for diagnosis and ocular drainage implants for treating glaucoma- the disease can be easily tackled in its early stages.

World Glaucoma Association commemorates Glaucoma week every year to increase awareness about this sight-threatening disease amongst the public. Twelve million people in India are afflicted with glaucoma. Those with high risk of glaucoma are age above 40 years, family history of glaucoma, those with comorbidities diabetes/ thyroid disease/hypertension, or those on steroid treatment of any form tablets/ drops/ ointments/ puffs/ injections, seeing coloured rainbow haloes around bright light, frequent change in glass power, take medication for sleep/ anxiety / depression / asthma/ parkinsonism, have had an injury to the face /eye, myopia or hyperopia and have headaches.

This World Glaucoma Week, (12-18th March 2017), let us pledge to improve awareness about this silent blinder, and make sure that we and our near and dear are saved from the clutches of glaucoma.

Dr. Savita Bhat is a leading Glaucoma Consultant in Pune and can be reached on 020-65390100, 96040-87337 

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