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Glaucoma the 'silent thief of vision', prevent it with regular eye check-ups

Written by Editorial Team |Published : March 16, 2015 9:33 AM IST

Glaucoma affects the eye due to increased pressure within it that damages the optic nerve over time. It is an irreversible condition and there are no symptoms associated with most forms of glaucoma. It is also referred to as the 'silent thief of vision'. Recently, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, reported that every eighth individual in India, above the age of 40, is suffering from glaucoma or is at a high risk of developing it. Doctors believe that 50 percent of the people in India do not know they have glaucoma as it is generally asymptomatic and regular eye examination is not practised.

According to a report in The Hindu, a marathon was conducted in Salem, Tamil Nadu on Sunday to educate the public about glaucoma. The run was organised by Arvind Eye Hospital as a part of World Glaucoma Week observations. The marathon was flagged off by city Police Commissioner A. Amalraj at Mahatma Gandhi Stadium. The run which began at the stadium passed through Four Road, New Bus Stand and Five Road and culminated at the starting point.

The organisers stressed on regular check-up of the eye to identify any signs of glaucoma as there are no symptoms of this disease and it is often diagnosed only when the patient begins to lose his eye sight. (Read: Types of glaucoma you should know about)

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Treatment of glaucoma is aimed at preventing further damage to the eye nerve. It cannot recover the loss. Treatment involves eye drops, tablets, laser procedure(s), eye operation(s) or a combination of methods:

Eye drops:The anti-glaucoma eye drops mainly reduce the secretion of eye fluid and thereby reduce the eye pressure.

Tablets: Sometimes, drops are not enough to control the eye pressure. In that case, oral medications may be prescribed in addition to the drops

Laser procedures: These procedures are advised in certain types of glaucoma. The most common laser procedure performed for the so called angle-closure glaucoma is called laser iridotomy. This procedure takes between one and three minutes, is painless, and is performed on outpatient basis.

Surgery: The most common anti-glaucoma operation is called trabeculectomy. In this procedure, the surgeon removes a small section of the eye wall to facilitate drainage of the eye fluid. This procedure is usually done after giving anaesthetic injection around the eye on an outpatient basis.

Read about a contact lens that can cure glaucoma.

Image source: Getty Images

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