This month (March) sees the launch of World Glaucoma Week, taking place between the 12th and the 18th, intended to help raise awareness of the condition, while encouraging national health authorities to come up with an action plan that combats glaucoma blindness and produce educational material about it that features the most current expert content available.
It’s expected that the number of people developing glaucoma will rise to 76 million come the year 2020, up from the estimated 64.3 million back in 2013. In order to combat this, “enormous efforts” will be required over the next ten years to overcome the impact of the condition around the world – as such, new strategies must be brought out mandatorily, related to glaucoma screening, diagnosis, treatment and rehab.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that result in progressive damage of the optic nerve. If left untreated, the majority of the different glaucoma types progress to gradually worsening eyesight damage and could result in blindness. Once this visual damage has been incurred, it is irreversible for the most part – which is why glaucoma is often described as the “sneak thief of sight”.
It’s actually the second most common cause of blindness around the world, with some 4.5 million people globally blind because of it. Some forms can occur at birth or during infancy and childhood, but the majority appear after people hit their 50s and the frequency of the condition does increase with age. There is no known cure as yet and the vision loss is irreversible, but medication and surgery can halt or slow the progress of any vision loss.
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