Punjab health department to observe glaucoma week from March 12
Early diagnosis and treatment could prevent glaucoma related blindness, says health minister Dr Balbir Singh
Chandigarh, March 11, 2023:
Taking forward the vision of Chief Minister (CM) Bhagwant Mann to provide world-class healthcare facilities to the general public, Punjab Health Department will observe 'World Glaucoma Week' from March 12 to March 18, said Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Balbir Singh here on Saturday.
He said that prevention and early treatment is the key to prevent glaucoma related blindness.
As part of this campaign, free Glaucoma check-up camps will be organised by the Punjab Health Department in all the district and sub-divisional hospitals and government medical colleges to identify the people suffering from glaucoma, so that they can be treated in a timely manner.
Explaining about the disease, Dr Balbir Singh said that glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the World. This disease is characterised by damage to the optic nerve due to increase in eye pressure (intraocular pressure) leading to irreversible blindness, he said, adding that, most often glaucoma causes silent vision loss and is known as the silent thief of the vision as the patient doesn't have any symptoms till moderate to an advanced stage.
The Minister said that blindness could be prevented in at least 90 percent of cases if patients were diagnosed early and proper treatment was given. It is pertinent to mention here that approximately 12 million Indians suffer from this glaucoma, of which, 1.2 million suffered blindness due to this disease.
Dr Balbir Singh further said anyone can suffer from glaucoma but certain people including 60+ age, having family history, medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, myopia, taking corticosteroid preparations especially eye drops for a long time, are at higher risk. Eye injuries can also result in glaucoma, he said.
"Early detection and careful lifelong treatment can maintain vision in most cases," he said, while urging people above 40 years of age to go for detailed eye examination every two-three years, while people above 65 should get their eyes examined after every six months.
The Minister also appealed to the general public to take maximum benefit of these free eye check-up camps being organised by the health department to mark 'World Glaucoma Week'.
Meanwhile, a series of IEC activities— including radio talks, awareness talks/CMEs, nukkad nataks, awareness rallies, lectures, painting competitions in schools, walkathons and social media campaigns— are being organised by the Health Department under National Program for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB & VI) to sensitise people about the prevention and control of glaucoma.