Spearheaded by the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association, the inaugural World Glaucoma Day is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness of glaucoma, a disease that affects approximately 65 million people worldwide.
“Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, which underscores the importance of a global initiative such as World Glaucoma Day,” says Dr. Mamta Mittal, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Welcare Ambulatory Care Center.
“While glaucoma cannot be prevented or cured, early detection and treatment can help to preserve sight. Individuals over the age of 40 years and those with a family history of glaucoma and other risk factors such as diabetes and high myopia should have regular, comprehensive eye exams that include careful evaluation of the optic nerve and measurement of eye pressure”.
To support World Glaucoma Day in Dubai, all Welcare Clinics are holding a free glaucoma screening camp between 9am and 1pm whilst Welcare Eye Center will host a week long campaign from 8th until 12th of March.
Welcare units will also be disseminating factual information about the disease to help raise awareness and detect early signs of the condition.
Glaucoma is a slowly progressive disease of the eye which causes damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that sends visual messages from the eye to the brain) leading to an irreversible reduction in the field of vision, and blindness if left untreated.
While no one knows what exactly causes this damage, build up of pressure within the eye is proven to be one of the major risk factors associated with glaucoma.
“By the time patients present themselves to me they have already been banging into doors, or have scratched their cars parking in their regular space because their field of vision has narrowed,” says Dr. Mamta. “The problem with glaucoma is that it’s a very slow disease with few obvious symptoms and so people do not notice its onset. Vision loss from this disease is permanent and cannot be reversed. That is why increased awareness and regular screenings are so important,” she continued.
Many people with glaucoma are unaware they have it until there is a large amount of irreversible vision loss. While anyone can develop glaucoma, some people are at a higher risk, including:
• People with a family history of glaucoma
• African-Americans & Hispanics
• People with diabetes, high myopia, migraine
• People who have used steroids for a long period of time
• People with physical eye injuries
• Individuals over 60 years of age.
Anyone who falls under these risk factors, or fear they might be at risk of glaucoma are urged to attend their nearest Welcare unit and avail of the free screenings on offer.
Sunday, March 2- 2008 @ 15:12 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.