Glaucoma causes 1.3 lakh Indians to go blind every year: Doctors

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Glaucoma is causing blindness among 1.3 lakh Indians every year and the major reason behind it is the absence of early symptoms, say doctors.

According to the medical statistics, hardly 10 percent of the Indian population knows that 68 percent of them run the risk of developing glaucoma, which can be controlled only if proper medical treatment is taken.

“Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight because in the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. This condition threatens vision and is known to gradually steal sight without warning. By the time glaucoma is detected, the patient has already suffered extensive peripheral vision damage which can no longer be restored,” said Samir Sud, opthalmologist at Sharp Sight Group of Eyes Hospitals.

Noting that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the US, he said that India is likely to be the next glaucoma capital of the world.

About its risks, another doctor said that several diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and thyroid diseases are among the reasons that may accelerate to glaucoma.

“A person suffering from myopia or near sightedness and ocular trauma or intra ocular surgery in the past are also among the highly-prone people to suffer from glaucoma, which has 70 percent chances of turning the patient blind if the proper treatment is not taken in time,” said Kamal B Kapur, a city-based eye expert.

He explained that there are various types of glaucoma such as chronic or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), which is the most common form with damage to vision gradual and generally painless.

In the another form, named closed or acute angle-closure glaucoma, the intraocular pressure increases very rapidly due to a sudden and severe block of fluid drainage within the eye. Significant symptoms appear immediately.

“This condition has to be treated quickly by an ophthalmologist otherwise blindness may occur,” said Kapur.

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