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Glaucoma – the silent thief of vision

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Hyderabad: L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) every year across its network observes World Glaucoma Week to bring public focus on this eye disease that can affect both adults and children. World Glaucoma Week is a joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patients Association. During the World Glaucoma Week, 12 – 18 March 2023, L V Prasad Eye Institute’s Kallam Anji Reddy Campus in Hyderabad is organizing the following activities to raise awareness about early detection and treatment of vision-threatening Glaucoma eye disease:

Awareness Walk: An awareness walk will be held on 12 March 2023 at 7:00 am, starting from LVPEI’s Banjara Hills campus.

Patient Interactive Forum: A live patient interactive patient forum in six different languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Kannada, Odiya and Telugu, will be held on 15 March 2023 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm through LVPEI’s YouTube channel. People can send in their queries using the below link. These queries will be answered by the LVPEI Glaucoma specialists during the live patient interactive session.

o   Link to post the query:

o   Link to attend the live session:

Glaucoma is an eye problem associated with an increase in eye pressure and is characterized by damage to the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. It is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss globally. The global estimates predict that the number of patients with glaucoma will rise from 76 million to 111.8 million by 2040, with majority of these patients residing in Africa and Asia. Available statistics indicate that 1.12 crore Indians (4.5% of the Indian population) suffer from glaucoma, including children, of which 11 lakh people have turned blind. 

“A person with glaucoma will not have any early symptoms or pain despite the increase of eye pressure till 90% of vision is lost. Vision once lost due to glaucoma cannot be restored, and that is why it is also called the ‘Silent Thief of Vision’. Vision once lost cannot be restored, but an eye specialist with early detection and treatment can help in safeguarding and preserving your remaining vision. Patients who present in early stages have no visual disability and can lead completely normal life. A basic eye examination for glasses (undilated eye examination) cannot detect glaucoma. Only a comprehensive eye examination that includes an eye pressure check, dilated fundus examination and a gonioscopy (in certain cases) can help in detecting glaucoma early,” says Dr Siddharth Dikshit, Glaucoma Consultant, L V Prasad Eye Institute.

Even though 80% of blindness from glaucoma is preventable, almost 7 million people worldwide turn blind due to glaucoma, with 2/3rd of them being women. This is because a whopping 90% of glaucoma cases go undetected, presumably due to a lack of awareness.

“Glaucoma more commonly affects people beyond the age of 40 years, especially those who have high myopia or are diabetic (one in eight people above 40 years of age are at risk for glaucoma). Those having a family history of glaucoma or those who have sustained eye injuries or have undergone eye surgeries are also vulnerable to developing glaucoma. They should get their eyes checked annually to rule out glaucoma” adds Dr Dikshit. 

Another word of caution by the doctors is that steroids should be judiciously and only under medical supervision. Excessive use of steroids can also lead to Glaucoma. People for whom it is necessary to use steroids, such as eye drops, inhalers, ointments or tablets, they should also get their eyes checked regularly.

Points to keep in mind:

o   While it is true that people over 40 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma, there are other types of Glaucoma (some very severe) that can affect people younger than 40.

o   Even young newborns and infants, due to abnormal eye development, can develop Glaucoma. These children present with large bluish eyes.

o   Can a cataract surgery (to place a lens) restore vision lost due to Glaucoma? Just as a camera whose film (or the 100 megapixel sensor) is damaged, cannot be repaired by changing the lens, an eye with Glaucoma will not benefit with cataract extraction and intraocular lens placement alone.


o   Depending on the type, severity and previous history, glaucoma can be treated with medications (usually eye drops), lasers (of various kinds) and surgery, if required

o   The treatment for glaucoma aims at controlling the eye pressure and preventing further vision loss due to glaucoma

o   Glaucoma surgery is not usually aimed at improving, but preserving the remaining vision

o   Accompanying cataract surgery, when the eye has cataract, can recover the vision the vision attributable to cataract

About L V Prasad Eye Institute: Established in 1987, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness, is a comprehensive eye health facility. The Institute has ten functional arms to its areas of operations: Clinical Services, Education, Research, Vision Rehabilitation, Rural and Community Eye Health, Eye Banking, Advocacy and Policy Planning, Capacity Building, Innovation and Product Development. The LVPEI Eye Care Network has 270+ Centres spread across the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka in India. The institute’s mission is to provide equitable and quality eye care to all sections of society. The LVPEI’s five-tier ‘Eye Health Pyramid’ model covering all sections of society right from the villages to the city, provides high quality and comprehensive – prevention, curative and rehabilitation – eye care to all. It has served over 34.14 million (3 crore 41 lakh people), with more than 50% of them entirely free of cost, irrespective of the complexity of care needed.

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