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Glaucoma cases rising in India, more common among young: Doctors

IANS Mar 18, 2024

Glaucoma, the third most common cause of blindness in India is rising significantly, especially among young adults, said doctors here on 16 March.

World Glaucoma Week is celebrated in March every year to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment of glaucoma.

According to various independent studies, reports and data from hospitals, glaucoma-related blindness continues to rise in India due to a lack of awareness and delays in detection.

In many cases, about 90 per cent of the time in India, the disease goes undetected.

"Akin to new lifestyle diseases, ophthalmologists are seeing an increasing trend of glaucoma, also known as the silent thief," said Dr Abhishek B Dagar, Senior Consultant, Venu Eye Hospital, New Delhi.

"Unlike other eye diseases, glaucoma is asymptomatic till a late stage and by that time visual loss is irreversible," he added.

In glaucoma patients, the pressure inside the eyeball rises to the extent that it can lead to damage to the optic nerve which transmits visual information to the brain.

If untreated, it can lead to irreversible blindness, the doctor explained.

As per the World Health Organisation, glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness across the globe.

"Glaucoma (known as kala motia in India), affects nearly 11.2 million people aged 40 and above in India. It's the third common cause of blindness in our country," Dr Abhishek said.

Further, Dr Suneeta Dubey, Director of Glaucoma Services, at Dr Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi said that the disease, while traditionally linked with ageing, can also afflict young individuals.

"Young people are more prone to eye inflammation. The causes can be genetic or secondary to conditions like inflammation, steroid usage or trauma," the doctor said.

The health experts called for regular eye checkups, as early management can arrest the progression of the disease.

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