Kathmandu, December 11
Nepal Eye Hospital-initiated ‘glaucoma awareness campaign’ has benefited more than 100 people till date.
The hospital runs a monthly programme to help patients with glaucoma and raise awareness among the general public about the eye disease. “We started the campaign as we wanted to make people aware about glaucoma.
Many patients fail to make proper use of the medicine prescribed. Patients miss the eye drops and sometimes they apply double dose,” said Dr Neyaz Kausar Mikrani, glaucoma specialist at Nepal Eye Hospital, Tripureshwor.
The number of glaucoma patients in the hospital has increased of late. “There are around 110 referral cases of glaucoma in the hospital each week. From among the OPD patients visiting the centre, around 1.5 per cent were found suffering from glaucoma in the hospital,” said Dr Mikrani.
The doctor also suggested that one should visit eye centres for regular check-up to save their eyesight from deteriorating. Those with history of glaucoma in their families and people over the age of 40 risk being afflicted by the eye disease. Glaucoma can also be present from birth in some. Therefore, children should also be taken to hospitals for check-up as glaucoma can be congenital and can be seen at any developmental stage of life, said the doctor.
Glaucoma is often called ‘the silent thief of sight’ because major, irreversible damage can take place before one knows they have it. It causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and even blindness. Intraocular pressure also affects the optic nerve. There are often no early symptoms, which is why many people with glaucoma don’t know they have the disease. As there is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, however, with early detection and treatment, one can often protect the eyes from irreversible vision loss.
Women are found to be more prone to glaucoma than men. Eye pressure is a major risk factor for optic nerve damage. A fluid flows continuously in and out in the eyes which nourishes the nearby tissues. The fluid then drains and new fluid is formed. However, in some it gets blocked due to which the nerves can’t get the fluid and go dry, said Dr Mikrani.
Early diagnosis and medication of the disease helps save vision. The doctor therefore suggested that people visit ophthalmologists regularly to detect the disease at an earlier stage and treat it.
A version of this article appears in print on December 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.