Monday, April 4, 2011

Worldwide Glaucoma Survey and Status

According to a recent article in Lancet (March 30, 2011) reporting on population based surveys, most medical practitioners have regular contact with adults who have one of the two forms of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma or angle-closure glaucoma. The surveys indicate that one in 40 adults older than 40 years has glaucoma with loss of visual function, which equates to 60 million people worldwide being affected and 8·4 million being bilaterally blind. Even in developed countries, half of glaucoma cases are undiagnosed. Glaucoma is mostly asymptomatic until late in the disease when visual problems arise. Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be recovered, and improved screening and detection methods for glaucoma are needed. Glaucoma is commonly treated with daily eye drops, but adherence to treatment is often unsatisfactory suggesting that other treatment options such as glaucoma laser treatment, neuroprotective strategies and even gene therapy might be useful in the future. Preventing eye health damage and vision loss from glaucoma requires early detection, diagnosis and treatment for the long term preservation of vision.

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