Silent thief of vision’: Glaucoma among leading causes of irreversible blindness, say doctors

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Silent thief of vision’: Glaucoma among leading causes of irreversible blindness, say doctors

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Mar 13 : Glaucoma, often termed the “silent thief of vision”, is one of the primary causes of irreversible blindness, and there is a critical need for regular eye screening, according to doctors.

Dr Shugufta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at GMC Srinagar, speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), explained that Glaucoma manifests when the intraocular pressure – the pressure within the eyes – exceeds normal levels.

Contrary to popular belief, this pressure is distinct from blood pressure and can cause compression.

This pressure can lead to compression and damage of the optic nerve, which is essential for transmitting light signals to the brain, and can result in compromised vision, she said, adding that the damage inflicted upon the optic nerve is permanent and irreversible.

While the exact cause of glaucoma may often be unknown (idiopathic), structural abnormalities of the eye and inflammatory eye diseases are potential contributing factors, Dr Shugufta said, adding that conditions such as diabetes and myopia may be associated with glaucoma.

She said Glaucoma typically remains asymptomatic until it has advanced significantly. There is a need for regular monitoring, especially for people aged 40 and above, she added.

Dr Bhavani Raina, Additional Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at AIIMS Jammu, highlighted the severity of Glaucoma, saying it stands as a leading cause of global irreversible blindness.

“It causes progressive damage to the nerve which is associated with carrying visual stimulus from eye to our brain leading to a loss in vision and eventually blindness if left untreated,” she said.

“Glaucoma often progresses slowly, earning its name as the ‘silent thief of vision.’ By the time symptoms manifest, considerable vision loss may have already occurred,” Dr Raina remarked.

To combat this stealthy disease, doctors stressed the importance of comprehensive eye check-ups, particularly for individuals over 40 years of age. They identified several risk factors, including age, family history, and medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension, underlining the need for regular monitoring and early intervention.

Advocating for caution against self-medication, doctors urged adherence to prescribed anti-glaucoma medications and the avoidance of steroids. They called for regular eye screenings, medication adherence, and lifestyle modifications in combating Glaucoma and said collective efforts are needed to safeguard vision and prevent irreversible damage—(KNO)

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