World Glaucoma Week begins with the theme 

The world is bright, save your sight’

• Centre for Sight launches state-of-the patient friendly treatment for Glaucoma  ‘Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery’, at Banjara HillsCenter.

Hyderabad, March 6th, 2021: Centre for Sight, Hyderabad is observing the World Glaucoma Week, by hosting various awareness initiatives for Ophthalmologists, Medical Community and public, to sensitize them on this permanently blinding eye disease. Centre for Sight has also launched a state-of-the patient friendly treatment for Glaucoma, the Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery, the only such facility in this part of the country, at Banjara Hills. Dr Vanita Pathak-Ray, Sr. Glaucoma Specialist, Centre for Sight & Neoretina Eyecare Institute; Dr Manoj Mathur, Sr. Glaucoma Specialist, Swarup’s & Medivision and Mr Annurod Singh, VP Operations & In-Charge South & East, CFS; were present on the occasion. Dr Mahipal Sachdev, Managing Director, Centre for Sight (CFS) Group of Hospitals; joined the proceeding online from Delhi. 

Centre for Sight is leveraging the digital platform to overcome the prevailing concerns of the pandemic and is proactively organising several webinars to create awareness and educate doctors-in-training. The General Ophthalmologists are being provided an opportunity to update their knowledge and skills on Glaucoma, throughout world Glaucoma Week. On World Glaucoma Day (7thMarch 2021) Centre for Sight hosted a webinar with International panelists from Australia, Canada, Singapore and Bangladesh, with the topic ‘Indian dilemmas: Global Perspectives’. During World Glaucoma Week (7th-13th March) – 3 additional webinars are being conducted (9th, 11th and 13th March 2021) by Centre for Sight, with renowned national faculty and is a series titled ‘Crash course in Glaucoma Diagnosis and Medical Management.’

Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation

Centre for Sight has launched a new laser service – Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation (ELC), at its Banjara Hills facility.  ELC uses a camera for the delivery of the laser. The built-in video camera (endoscope) is capable of visualising structures inside the eye, including those normally not seen, especially the one called the ciliary body. There are 60-70 of these that are present in the form of a ring. This structure produces a fluid called ‘Aqueous’, excessive production of which can raise eye pressure. The camera enables direct delivery of the laser to a few of these to reduce production of aqueous. This treatment is analogous to a ‘tap’ in the eye which is partially ‘closed’ with the laser, for control of eye pressure. The camera and the accompanying laser is introduced through a very small incision (cut) in the eye in the Operation Theatre, this enables rapid recovery of the patient when compared to the current gold standard operation called trabeculectomy. The number of post-surgery visits are also much lower and so are the side effects. Most types of glaucoma are suitable for this type of laser and can be used at any age. It is possible to combine it with modern day cataract surgery (phaco) and it only takes an additional 5-10 minutes to deliver the laser in glaucoma patients. 

The new laser service comes with multiple patient friendly advantages including it being minimally invasive; eye pressure lowering is just as good as current prevailing open surgery in glaucoma; the procedure is faster, safer; complications are lower; fewer post-surgery visits and quicker recovery of vision, says Dr Vanita Pathak-Ray, Sr. Glaucoma Specialist, Centre for Sight.Worldwide every fifth Glaucoma patient is an Indian, therefore we need to see the enormity of the problemAs Glaucoma is highly prevalent in India and South East Asiagreater emphasis is needed on screening the population regularly. It is the responsibility of every individual above the age of 3to get their eyes checked regularly, only then we can defeat this invisible disease called Glaucoma, we all need to get together to beat this invisible disease.The two varieties of Glaucoma are Open Angle Glaucoma and Angle Closure Glaucoma. Telangana has high incidence of Angle Closure Glaucoma, which impacts eyesight more severely.

Dr Mahipal Sachdev said, the Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery, launched at Centre for Sight, Banjara Hills, gives unparalleled care for patients suffering from Glaucoma. Glaucoma is known as silent thief of vision as patient loses sight silently. Usually, the first line of treatment for Glaucoma patients is drugs or drops in the eye and if a person is not responding to drugs, surgery is the option. This Endoscopic laser cyclophotocoagulation surgery, can immensely benefit the patients of Glaucoma now, worldwide studies have indicated that the laser surgery is highly efficacious, besides being faster, safer with quicker recovery of sightThis advanced care is currently restricted toAmritsar and Bangalore, now patients in Hyderabad and neighboring areas can avail and benefit from it

Dr Manoj Mathur said, there are 65 to 70 million Glaucoma patients World over as on today, in India alone 1.2 cr., people areaffected and approximately 5 lakh people in Telangana are affected by Glaucoma in Telangana alone. About 90% of the patients are not aware of they being affected by Glaucoma and therefore to create awareness about Glaucoma this awareness week is hosted. There is no known cause for GlaucomaAmong the risk factors for Glaucoma are family history of Glaucoma; associated risk factorslike thyroid disorders, diabetes, hypertension; any history of eye injuries, excessive usage of steroids. The current treatment for Glaucoma only prevents further damage in the eye due toGlaucoma, there is no treatment for reversal of the damage caused by Glaucoma

Mr Annurod Singh said, Centre for Sight provides super specialty eye care services in the region with advanced infrastructure. We have been extensively spreading information about Glaucoma, for years we are conducting educational programs and awarenesscampaigns across our hospitals. This year we are emphasizing on a special initiative in all our 45 hospitals across India including Hyderabadcalled Sibling Protect Program as part of which we are inviting siblings of existing Glaucoma patients to come forexamination and evaluation to ensure preventive eye care from Glaucoma for them. 

World Glaucoma Day

Every year the World Glaucoma Association observes the second Sunday of March as World Glaucoma Day and the week that follows is observed as the World Glaucoma Week, worldwide. The aim is to create awareness about this slow, permanently blinding disease. Glaucoma Specialists and Ophthalmologists worldwide plan special awareness activities for the community and educational activities for the medical fraternity, to achieve this objective. World Glaucoma Association releases slogans to draw attention to this disease that creeps up like a thief and takes away vision permanently. This year too, a very patient centric theme has been floated ‘The world is bright, save your sight” – as below. 

Glaucoma the ‘sneak thief of sight’

Glaucoma is a name given to dozens of blinding eye conditions with one common feature – damage to the nerve in the eye (optic nerve) that gives us vision, colour vision and side vision. It is the latter that is preferentially damaged in glaucoma in a very slow manner, such that the patient does not realise in the early stages, until blindness creeps up.

So glaucoma has frequently been called the ‘sneak thief of sight’ as in the early stages of the majority of cases there are no symptoms, so patients are unable to tell if they have the disease and only an eye doctor who does specific tests for glaucoma can diagnose.

Similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, there is no cure for glaucoma, there is only control – with eyedrops (medicines), laser and surgery. So once detected lifelong monitoring is required at periodic intervals, as determined by your eye specialist. In glaucoma, permanent damage occurs and so it is unlike cataract, where recovery of vision is usual after surgery.

There is no known cause, only risk factors. Glaucoma can occur in any age group, but generally occurs with advancing age, which is one of the most important risk factors along with eye pressure. However, eye pressure may not be high in quite a few individuals. Family history of glaucoma, extreme short-sightedness, injury to eye and unsupervised use of steroids are the other important risk factors.

Estimated 12 million or 1.2 crore glaucoma patients in India (80 million worldwide); 90% undiagnosed and 3 million or 30 lakh have visual impairment (WHO criteria). Estimated 5 lakh patients in Telangana (prevalence approx. 3.5%). 

Salient features of Glaucoma:• All diseases under Glaucoma are permanently blinding optic nerve disease but can be prevented if detected early• There is no known cause, only risk factors• Most patients do not realise they have the disease, as it does not produce symptoms especially in the early stages• Majority are treated by medication but 10% of patients may still have progressive loss of side vision despite proper treatment• Both, treatment and follow-up, needs to be lifelong – similar to diseases like diabetes or hypertension • Regular check-up with an eye doctor goes a long way in keeping this disease under control• Family members of patients with glaucoma are at much higher risk of developing glaucoma themselves, so should also have regular eye exam to exclude glaucoma

Therefore, for the detection of this silent disease, regular eye check-ups, every 1-2 years, after the age of 35-40 is strongly recommended and it is well within one’s right to ask one’s eye doctor about the health of theirnerve, when they go for their sight test. With your awareness and help we can beat this invisible disease.

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