For the media
WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK
A Patient’s Guide to Caring for their Glaucoma During the Pandemic
According to the World Glaucoma Association (WGA), glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness, and the figures are
staggering. One in 200 people, aged 40, has glaucoma, and the number rises to o ne in 8, aged 80.
As the world ages, and the population increases as well, glaucoma is becoming more and more
common. Currently, an estimated 78 million people are diagnosed with glaucoma on a global
level. This number is forecasted to skyrocket in the com ing years, as over 11 1.8 million people
will be impacted by glaucoma by 2040.
Results on the impact of the pandemic on glaucoma prevention and treatment have set the tone for this year’s World Glaucoma Week (WGW), which takes place worldwide between March 12 and 18. This year’s initiative puts a spotlight on empowering patients to address questions and concerns about glaucoma, providing guidance regarding more serious situations, and helping to minimize vision loss from this disease during the pandemic.
ACCESS THE COMPLETE PATIENT GUIDE
Although vision can’t be regained once lost to glaucoma, damage due to glaucoma can be
prevented. Regular eye and optic nerve checks are the number one rule for sight prese rvation,
since glaucoma can be asymptomatic in its early stages. Thus, the earlier it is diagnosed, the less
damage is done.
For over a decade, the WGA has been working to raise global awareness on glaucoma and the
importance of prevention. The “The world is bright, save your sight” campaign urges everyone
around the world to take action for a better future for sight.
Neeru Gupta President of the World Glaucoma Association, remarks “World Glaucoma Week is
a unique initiative that puts a spotlight on glaucoma as the leading cause of preventable
irreversible blindness worldwide. The prompt diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent
needless vision impairment, however, so many are unaware they have the disease or may not
have access to much needed care. As the numbers are expected to increase exponentially, it is a
growing public health concern that needs more attention and effective eye health systems. The
active coming together of the international community with colleagues and key sta keholders
through events to stimulate awareness and dialogue is a show of our shared commitment to
improving glaucoma care for patients around the world.”backlog of glaucoma-related exams and procedures are burdening our healthcare systems,” highlights the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) position document.
The WGA Patient’s Guide highlights the importance of evaluating the risks and benefits of participating in a face-to-face consultation. Eye pressure measurements and other important exams are only possible during in-person check-ups. However, if the patient cannot visit clinics/hospitals, the recommendation is to schedule a virtual appointment to ensure personalized medical guidance.
Regular routine exams are an essential part of managing glaucoma. If there are concerns regarding the time involved taking tests and increased exposure to coronavirus, the WGA recommends that the patient reach out to their ophthalmologist to discuss alternatives. Faster imaging tests are available, such as fundus photographs and ocular tomography.
Postponing recommended glaucoma surgery should be avoided. In some cases, surgical intervention is necessary to preserve vision, particularly when laser treatment and eye drops are insufficient to control the disease. As glaucoma damage cannot be recovered, discuss with your eye doctor the most appropriate time for your glaucoma surgery.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness worldwide. Estimates suggest that approximately 80 million people across the world have the disease. Among people over age 40 years, approximately 2-10% will have glaucoma depending on your ethnic background. There is increased risk with greater age. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent needless vision loss; however, over half those with glaucoma are unaware they have the disease. Many also struggle to access much-needed care. First-degree relatives of people with the disease have up to 10 times more chance to also develop this condition. Senior citizens, African descendants, and women are at greater risk for glaucoma.
The World Glaucoma Association (WGA) encompasses a network of 91 Glaucoma Societies and 13 Industry Members. WGA’s core purpose is to eliminate glaucoma-related disability worldwide. Members are actively involved in glaucoma research, diagnosis/treatment consensus and educational strategies for eye care professionals and the general population.
Paulo Henrique de Souza
Official press release in French
Official press release in Portuguese
Official press release in Spanish
Official press release in Korean
The organizers of World Glaucoma Week are renowned glaucoma experts and part of the World Glaucoma Association leadership, as well as patients who welcome the opportunity to raise glaucoma awareness in the media.
The WGA Executive Office can assist with connecting your (social) media outlet to our global network of experts and patients. Please reach out to the WGA Executive General Manager Liezl Botha for your interview, quote, photo, or other media related enquiries.