Glaucoma Week

As Coronavirus fears still reverberate across the country, eye hospitals mark Glaucoma Week

March 2021

As Covid 19 anxiety still loom and senior citizens of the country rush to hospitals to get their vaccine shot, some hospitals within the network of Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) managed to organize awareness-based initiatives to mark the Global Glaucoma Week 7-13 March 2021.

World Glaucoma Week is a global initiation of the World Glaucoma Association to raise awareness on glaucoma specially to globally alert people to have regular eye checks and detect glaucoma earlier, increase glaucoma awareness and enhance global accessibility to knowledge on eye care.

In Nepal, the Biratnagar Eye Hospital promoted glaucoma related messages placing posters in areas where eye patients assemble, especially in eye care centers and Outpatient Departments, says Kumar Prithu, hospital manager of Biratnagar Eye Hospital.

Lumbini Eye hospital also raised awareness on glaucoma related issues in cooperation with radio and television channels which aired public awareness-based interviews of glaucoma specialized doctors. The hospital management also conducted an essay competition among optometrists and ophthalmology assistants so as to enhance their motivation to reach to eye patients with key glaucoma related messages.

Executive Director of Nepal Netra Jyoti says there is an urgent need to mobilize every possible means of communication for people who require vital information regarding glaucoma in order to reduce the number of sufferers in the country.

In Nepal, increasing lifestyle related stress has given rise to chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. These issues coupled with the negligence towards eye problems is responsible for the increased rate of glaucoma across the country.

A study conducted in Nepal’s eye hospitals in 2017 showed that among all newly diagnosed glaucomas, secondary glaucomas were seen in 22.07 per cent of those people. The study also reflects that secondary glaucoma can be the cause of blindness which is avoidable by effective screening, timely referral and effective treatment.

World Glaucoma Association in its website reports that Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness. In many cases, glaucoma shows no symptoms and half of those living with glaucoma are unaware that they are affected. The report also mentions that across the world 78 million people have glaucoma. 111.8 million are predicted to have glaucoma by 2040, and 90 per cent of glaucoma is undetected in developing countries.