How common is glaucoma?
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4.5 million people around the world are blind due to glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and accounts for 12 percent of all cases of total blindness. Because glaucoma often occurs as a complication of an underlying medical condition, early diagnosis and proper management of that condition can make blindness prevention easier.
Risk factors in developing countries
Risk factors for glaucoma include age, African origin or a history of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. A family history of glaucoma also increases risk of the disease.
Prevention of glaucoma
Screening is the primary means of detecting glaucoma. For people in developing countries, who have little access to eye exams, glaucoma usually isn't detected until vision loss has taken place. Treatment cannot restore sight but can prevent the condition from progressing.
Treatment of glaucoma
Because vision loss is permanent, symptoms of glaucoma should be recognized and treated as quickly as possible to prevent the deterioration of eyesight. Blindness prevention is possible for people with glaucoma.
Eye drops to reduce the amount of aqueous fluid produced by the eye or to increase the relative rate of fluid drainage from the eye
Laser treatment to clear blockages preventing the fluid from draining
Surgery to create new channels in the eye to allow drainage of aqueous fluid
Implanted devices to promote fluid drainage from the eye
What ORBIS is doing about glaucoma in developing countries?
ORBIS is working with its local partners to ensure free eye screenings, even in the remotest areas. This allows for the early symptoms of glaucoma to be recognized, treated and prevented from advancing. ORBIS is also promotes public awareness of glaucoma and its devastating impact. Such programmes can reduce blindness in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.
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