One billion people may suffer from Glaucoma by 2030: AIIMS

As the World Glaucoma Week ends on March 17, with over 11.2 million persons aged 40 years and older suffering from Glaucoma in India, researchers say that despite it being the second largest cause of blindness, it is more problematic than cataract, because the blindness caused by Glaucoma is irreversible. Over 70 per cent of the Indian population is at the risk of developing Glaucoma, of which 2 lakh are likely to lose vision on an average.

Doctors from the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have already proposed in their research papers that type four diabetes can occur in the brain and is the suspected cause of Glaucoma and related neuro-degenerative disorders. Due to it being considered one of the most complex human diseases, a majority of those suffering from Glaucoma go undetected and major challenges exist in detecting and treating those with the disease.

“There are striking similarities in genetic, biochemical, and molecular aspects which prove that Glaucoma is a form of brain-specific diabetes. There might be one billion people suffering of it across the world by 2030. It is sometimes uncontrolled even by medicines and requires multiple surgeries and lifelong therapies. It is known to be a silent ailment that can lead to blindness and hence creating awareness among the masses is necessary to prevent it from becoming an epidemic,” said Dr Muneeb Faiq, Clinical Researcher, AIIMS.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is the second largest cause of blindness in the world and fourth largest in India. The average age for the prevalence of Glaucoma is over 50 years, but with sedentary lifestyle and westernisation, the average age is getting reduced. It has recently been observed that of the total cases diagnosed with the condition, over 70 per cent of them were under the age of 35.

“It is important to get optic nerve examinations done regularly and further educate people about the disease. People with a family history of diabetes, hypertension, and poor blood circulation are at an elevated risk of getting the condition,” said Dr Ritika Sachdev, Additional Director Medical Services, Centre for Sight.

Glaucoma is the 2nd largest cause of blindness in the world and 4th largest in India. The average age for prevalence of Glaucoma is over 50 years. But, it has been observed that of the total cases diagnosed, over 70% were under the age of 35.


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