The Telegraph
Saturday , March 22 , 2014
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Check-up pill against glaucoma

- Docs suggest prevention

Guwahati, March 21: Ophthalmologists recommend people to undergo frequent eye check-ups to detect glaucoma that happens to be one of the leading causes of blindness.

A substantial number of people suffer from glaucoma in the state though the exact figure remains unavailable.

Glaucoma is an eye condition associated with an increase of pressure inside the eye. The high pressure can damage the optic nerve that transmits images to the brain thereby leading to permanent loss of vision if left untreated.

There are different types of glaucoma — narrow-angle glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, juvenile glaucoma and paediatric glaucoma. Among these narrow-angle glaucoma that mostly affects people in the age group of 45-55 years has been found to be prevalent among people in the state and in the entire northeastern region.

Open-angle glaucoma affects people in the age group of 50-65 years and juvenile glaucoma affects people in the age group of 20-30 years and is rare. Paediatric glaucoma affects a child at birth and may manifest itself between the age of six months and 10 years.

“Glaucoma is an eye condition associated with incompatible eye pressure that damages the optic nerve. Many people suffer from glaucoma in the state, but as in the early stage it is almost symptom-less, many do not realise that they suffer from the condition. Seeing a rainbow like hallow around lights is one of the first symptoms, but people tend to ignore and then visit an eye specialist only when their headache and pain in the eye increase. At times a patient may lose vision overnight. All should get their eyes regularly checked to rule out this condition,” said Harsha Bhattacharjee, medical director of Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya.

“Narrow-angle glaucoma is prevalent among people here. In this glaucoma, the inner structures of the eye become disproportionate resulting in the angle of the interior chamber of the eye becoming narrow. If detected timely, this type of glaucoma can be treated with laser treatment. In open-angle glaucoma, medicine and surgical treatment are required. While glaucoma can be cured, the loss of vision that has occurred already cannot be restored,” Bhattacharjee said.

Paediatric glaucoma affecting children can be cured if detected at an early stage. The size of the eyes becomes bigger and they water continuously.

In advanced stage the cornea may become white, resulting in blindness.

Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya has plans to conduct a research project on the prevalence of glaucoma in the northeastern region and is awaiting permission from the Indian Council of Medical Research. The study will be conducted in a pilot project mode in Kamrup (metropolitan) and then across the entire Northeast.