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Glaucoma Awareness Walk by L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad

Dil Raju & Regina Cassandra participate in the ‘Glaucoma Awareness Walk’ organised by L V Prasad Eye Institute

Hyderabad, March 9, 2014: Film Producer Dil Raju; Tollywood Heroine Regina Cassandra; Film director Neelakanta; Dr. G. Chandra Sekhar, Vice Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI); Dr. Sirisha Senthil, Head, Glaucoma Center, LVPEI; Doctors, Patients and public participated in the ‘Glaucoma Awareness Walk’ organised by L.V.Prasad Eye Institute on Sunday at Jubilee Hills. The Walk was organised as part of the Glaucoma Awareness Week being held from March 9th – 15th, 2014, to bring public focus on the eye disease that affects both adults and children. The theme for this year is ‘BIG: BEAT INVISIBLE GLAUCOMA’.

“We would like to stress the importance of screening the family members of patients with glaucoma, as this disease can affect siblings and children of patients with glaucoma in up to 10-20%. Also educating the general public on the harmful effects of prolonged steroid use can prevent serious and blinding steroid induced glaucoma that mostly affects children,” says Dr Sirisha Senthil, Head – VST Centre for Glaucoma Care, LVPEI.

Speaking on the occasion Dil Raju said, Glaucoma forms in people over 40 years of age and we wouldn’t know of it unless a complete eye check up is done. Getting eye checked up every year is essential to save our eye, he said. Regina Cassandra said, Cataract is the eye problem I know off. I didn’t know till today about Glaucoma and it being a more serious problem. We think sight is reducing and would want to go for spectacles, but one should ask the doctor to check for glaucoma, being one of the reasons for sight loss. If undetected, Glaucoma will lead to blindness, she added.

Dr. G. Chandra Sekhar, Vice Chair, LVPEI; said, 4% of the population above 40 years of age have Glaucoma and 90% of these people aren’t aware of they having Glaucoma, as it is asymptomatic. There is no cure for Glaucoma and if detected, glaucoma can only be controlled and further loss of sight prevented. Therefore all those above 40 should have complete eye check up every year and insist on they being checked for glaucoma, he added.

Glaucoma is seen as the leading cause of irreversible blindness in India. It is a disorder associated with pressure in the eye, and is characterized by damage to the optic nerve leading to irreversible blindness. The disorder is not a single disease, but has multiple causes, with a final common insult, which is injury to the optic nerve.

Currently, 1.12 crore Indians suffer from glaucoma, with 11 lakh people bilaterally blind. Though the exact cause of glaucoma in the majority of cases is not precisely known, it can occur in a minority due to a variety of causes ranging from the use of steroid eye drops, secondary to eye injury, or even complications after an eye surgery. Glaucoma more commonly affects people beyond the age of 40 years. High myopes, diabetics and those with a positive family history have higher risk of developing glaucoma.

What is worrying is that 90 percent of Glaucoma in the community is undetected, mostly because of lack of awareness.

Most patients are unaware that:

a) They could be suffering from glaucoma, because the disease causes very late onset of symptoms, which could be as late as when they begin experiencing loss of vision;

b) Presenting themselves to eye care providers at a very late stage makes restoration of visual function quite impossible;

c) Early diagnosis can reduce progression of the disease and prevent blindness; and

d) All it takes to prevent such a situation is regular eye check-up or screening.

Since staying informed is the first step to tackle glaucoma, there is a great need to create public awareness on the importance of periodic screening.

The following are the key events chalked out for the Glaucoma Awareness Week:
1. March 9: Glaucoma Awareness Walk
· @Hyderabad, 7 am: From Prasad Labs to Jubilee Hills Check Post and back

2. March 14: Patient Education Forum
· @Hyderabad, 4 – 6pm: Kallam Anji Reddy Campus, Banjara Hills, Road No. 2,
o To participate contact Arun - 040 30612632 / 09700778199 ([email protected])
· @Visakhapatnam, 3pm – 5pm: GMR Varalakshmi Campus, Hanumanthawaka Junction
o To participate, contact K Gopal - 0891 3984555 / 09396712020 ([email protected])
· @Bhubaneswar, 3.30pm – 5.30pm: Patia, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (on March 13)
o To participate, contact Ms Sudipta Parida - 09338695059 ([email protected])
· @Vijayawada, 4pm – 6pm: Kode Venkatadri Chowdary Campus, Tadigadapa
o To participate, contact PV Kiran – 08099552020 / 08099552020 ([email protected])
3. March 16: “Glaucoma: Basic & Master’s Course” CME
· @ LVPEI’s GMR Varalakshmi Campus, Hanumanthawaka Junction, Visakhapatnam 530040
· The CME will be networked on live video-link with all other centres: Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam
o contact K Gopal - 0891 3984555 / 09396712020 ([email protected])
o Program Coordinator: Dr JJ Praveen ([email protected])

About L V Prasad Eye Institute : The L V Prasad Eye Institute provides high quality comprehensive eye care to all people; provides sight enhancement and rehabilitation services at the Institute and through its rural eye health network; offers professional ophthalmic training at all levels; and conducts cutting-edge eye care research. The Institute is a World Health Organization (WHO) Center for the Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020, a worldwide initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness led by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. For further information, visit the Institute’s website, www.lvpei.org
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