CBM celebrates World Glaucoma Week from 6–12 March 2016. On this occasion, we speak with our partner, Dr. Neeru Gupta, Vice President of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) about the new Global Glaucoma guidelines.
What are the Global Glaucoma Guidelines?
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, second to cataracts. The ICO Guidelines for Glaucoma Eye Care provide educational support for good glaucoma care throughout the world. It is a unique resource that provides information on how to approach and care for both open and closed angle glaucoma.
How will these guidelines steer our work to reduce glaucoma worldwide?
These international guidelines are an important step to reducing glaucoma blindness. They are relevant to glaucoma care worldwide, and address patients with both open and closed angle glaucoma. They are also uniquely relevant to both high and low resource settings. The guidelines provide information on minimal equipment, and essential medication and surgery required for glaucoma care or successful treatment. They are a valuable resource for provide guidance on how to approach different strategies of treatments but also to guide glaucoma care for ophthalmologists and members of the eye care team.
Biography - Dr.Neeru Gupta MD PhD MBA
Professor Gupta is Founding Director of the Glaucoma Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She holds the Dorothy Pitts Chair of Ophthalmology, and is the Chief of Glaucoma at the University of Toronto. She is Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She has served as Past –President of the Canadian Glaucoma Society, Past-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the American Glaucoma Society, and Past-Chair of the Glaucoma Section for ARVO. She has been honored with awards for contributions to education and science from a number of organizations, including the Canadian Ophthalmology Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology. She currently serves the Board of Governors of the World Glaucoma Association, and is Vice President of the International Council of Ophthalmology.
CBM signs MoU with ICO
CBM and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the education of ophthalmologists and enhance eye health worldwide.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, the nerve bundle which transmits everything we see from the eye to the brain. Most of the time, an increased pressure inside the eyeball causes a slow death of numerous single nerve fibers until all of them have died and the person affected is totally blind.
There are different reasons for an increased eye pressure. Usually the drainage of the eye fluid (the aqueous) is reduced. Glaucoma is rare in children. Most of the time, adults suffer from this silent disease, the incidence of which increases with age. If a person has glaucoma, other family members are at a higher risk of also having the disease.
How does CBM work to eradicate glaucoma?
Approximately 90% of visually impaired people live in developing countries. Even though 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured*, Glaucoma is still the second leading cause of blindness in Africa. The nerve that connects the eye to the brain is irreversibly damaged, and it is usually associated with raised eye pressure, leading to advanced, irreversible sight loss.
Detection of glaucoma is an essential part meaning that whenever a patient is seen because of an eye problem, he is also checked for glaucoma. The earlier the disease is detected the better since damage to the optic nerve is irreversible and what is lost is lost for good. Early stages of glaucoma do not cause any symptoms to the patient so they usually do not seek medical help. The progression of glaucoma can be stopped in most cases by reducing eye pressure. In general there are three groups of treatments, either eye drops, laser treatment or surgical procedures. They are offered depending on the stage of the disease and socio-economic aspects. CBM is also involved in research focussing on optimal treatment in low-income settings.