During this year’s World Glaucoma Week awareness campaign, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is encouraging the general public, especially those most at risk of developing glaucoma, to go for screening in order to diagnose the disease early and prevent irreversible complications.

Glaucoma is an eye disorder that results in progressive damage to the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries visual information from the retina to the brain. The condition has no known cause but is often associated with a build-up of pressure inside the eye.

The World is Bright, Save Your Sight

This year, in a major collaboration with the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association, HMC is joining the global community to raise awareness and alert people to have regular eye (and optic nerve) checks to detect glaucoma earlier.

World Glaucoma Week

According to HMC consultant ophthalmologist Dr Zakia Al Ansari, the overarching goal for this year’s event is for everyone to know about the disease and to encourage them to go and get tested. The World Glaucoma Week this year is celebrated from 7-13 March following the theme ‘The World is Bright, Save Your Sight’.

In many cases, glaucoma may be asymptomatic (the affected person does not show any symptoms), which is why it’s called the silent thief. International statistics show that half of those living with glaucoma are unaware that they are affected.

This is the reason we are emphasising screening for early diagnosis, especially for those with a family history of the disease.

Dr Al Ansari notes that it is very important to know when to get tested for glaucoma. She said that those aged below 40 should go for eye screening every two to three years while those aged from 40 to 60 years should check their eyes every one to two years and those above 60 years should screen yearly, depending on their risk factors.

She explains that with early diagnosis and treatment, the irreversible damage caused by glaucoma may be limited and sight may be saved.

By promoting regular testing, we also want to discover glaucoma cases early. We want the affected persons to get their relatives involved, as the chances of them getting glaucoma are 10 times higher than someone with no glaucoma history in their close family environment.

World Glaucoma Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness. Dr Al Ansari also points to the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle to maintain good eyesight.

Previous campaigns

The Ophthalmology Department was able to diagnose early cases of glaucoma and help patients preserve their sights through similar awareness campaigns in 2018 and 2019. These patients were diagnosed and followed up by ophthalmology specialists.

Read: Free Glaucoma Screenings from HMC at Doha Festival City

Glaucoma first affects the peripheral or side vision and progresses to the central vision. People with glaucoma require lifelong treatment to maintain their vision. If left untreated, the disease can lead to complete blindness.

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