Glaucoma Week marked in Egypt with run and release of global survey

Ingy Deif, Wednesday 29 Mar 2017

Glaucoma is one of the top causes of blindness, but awareness on it is scant, new global survey reveals


Among all hazards threatening eyesight, glaucoma comes top of the list, with 60 million people already burdened by the ailment, a number estimated to reach 76 million by 2020.

Glaucoma occurs almost without symptoms at the beginning, and could result in blindness if untreated early.

Each year, from 12 to 18 March, the world marks International Week of Glaucoma by holding events shedding light on available data and raising awareness.

This year, Egypt joined by holding a run 10 March in collaboration with the Egyptian Society of Glaucoma and the running community Zamalek Runners. The private sector pharmaceutical Novartis took part in the run as an entity, and released a new global survey on the spread of glaucoma.

The online survey was conducted in May 2016 and focused on assessing the scope of people's awareness regarding the condition.

Focusing on those aged 18 and older, 5,000 people from France, Germany, Australia, Spain and the United States were polled with questions aimed at shedding light on how the glaucoma is perceived.

The survey showed that although out of all five senses 85 percent of respondents were afraid of the loss of eyesight, only 33 percent undergo regular testing and screening.

The primary reasons for respondents not having a recent eye exam were: lack of money or insurance (21 percent); the belief that “I don’t have any eye problems” (19 percent); the belief that a yearly exam is not necessary (17 percent).

It was notable that although the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, 54 percent of the sample asked were unaware of the condition, but more familiar with cataracts.

In 'Primary Open Angle Glaucoma' the channels responsible for draining fluid within the eye become blocked, causing eye pressure to rise. Symptoms are faint and many don’t recognise them.

In 'Angle Closure Glaucoma' a buildup of fluid within the eye happens, but rather more abruptly. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches and eye pain.

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