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Awareness march for glaucoma today

The eye department of Patna Medical College and Hospital will take out a rally on Friday to spread awareness on glaucoma and the ways to prevent it.

Umesh Prasad Sinha, the head of the department, said on Thursday: “Glaucoma can be prevented only through awareness programmes and we are doing our bit.”

At least 100 people, including doctors and postgraduate students of the hospital, would take part in the rally that is being organised as part of Prevention of Blindness Week. Sinha said it is important for residents to check their intraocular pressure (fluid pressure inside the eye) from time to time, as a rise would mean the person concerned has high chances of suffering from glaucoma.

The intraocular pressure can be detected through the tonometry test, said Dr Sinha at a news meet organised by the department at IMA Hall.

Although Prevention of Blindness Week is observed between April 1 and April 7, the department has decided to organise earlier — from March 9 to March 15. The administration did not specify reasons for it.

Dr Sinha added that treatment of glaucoma involves surgery. “While in cataract treatment, full vision can be restored through surgery, in the case of glaucoma, even surgery cannot help restore full vision. It can only help restore vision that has not been lost. In the past week, we have detected around 90 people suffering from the disease at the hospital’s special clinic. There is a need to initiate public awareness drives to ensure timely diagnosis,” he said.

He added that in Bihar, 2 per cent of the population suffers from glaucoma. “The ratio of infantile glaucoma in the state is 0.1 per cent. Infantile glaucoma develops between one and 24 months,” Sinha said.

Apart from PMCH, a private eye centre is also observing Prevention of Blindness Week in the city.

Dr Ranjan Kumar Akhaury, director, Drishti Eye Care and Research Centre, inaugurated a free glaucoma screening programme at his hospital on Thursday. He said if people above 40 years suffer from myopia, if he/she takes steroid for a long time or if someone in the family suffers from glaucoma, the person too is at high risk of suffering from glaucoma.

He added that if a person’s eye takes a hit, he/she might develop glaucoma later on. “When the optic nerve is damaged, only then a person suffers from glaucoma. The optic nerve, which is the specialised light sensing tissue, carries images from the retina to the brain so we can see. If a person’s optic nerve is fully damaged, he/she would lose full vision. If it is damaged partially, then he/she could suffer from glaucoma. If it is not treated in time, the person concerned could lose vision too,” he said.


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