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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 2200-2206

Glaucoma blindness–A rapidly emerging non-communicable ocular disease in India: Addressing the issue with advocacy

Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj Singh Senjam
Department of Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_111_20

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Glaucoma, a leading cause of irreversible blindness, can be prevented or stabilized the progression if identified early and managed it appropriately. In India, around 12 million people suffer from glaucoma, and 1.5 million are blind due to it, so making the third most common cause of blindness. More than 75% of glaucoma are undiagnosed, which perhaps represent the submerged portion of the iceberg phenomenon of the traditional disease explanations. Though glaucoma per se does not lead to mortality, glaucoma blindness is categorized as a severe form of disability (category VI) out of seven World Health Organization (WHO) classification on the global burden of diseases. Indeed, there is a large gap between the prevailing burden of glaucoma and service being delivered about its prevention compared to other leading causes of blindness in India. Considering the magnitude of the problem as well as the severity of disability, a strong and effective advocacy is an urgent call to deal glaucoma problem in the country. For a resource-limited country, where mass population based-screening programs are not feasible, alternative methods like facility-based opportunistic screening and referring the high-risk groups for early detection and treatment should be aimed. However, glaucoma should not be screened in isolation from other eye problems. In fact, screening of any potential blinding ocular problems, including glaucoma, should be a clear mandate under comprehensive eye program of the WHO to achieve Universal Eye Health Coverages. This paper highlights the strategy inclusive of advocacy to curtail the increasing burden of glaucoma blindness in India.

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