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People with myopia three times more likely to develop Glaucoma: Doctors…


Bengaluru: People with myopia have two to three times higher risk of developing glaucoma compared to those with normal eyesight, doctors of Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospital have said during the ongoing Glaucoma Awareness Month. Myopia, the leading cause of refractive error, affects about 10-20 percent of the Indian population. Glaucoma, on the other hand, is the third leading cause of blindness in India. Said Dr. Ram S Mirlay, Regional Head – Clinical Services, Dr. Agarwals Hospital, Bengaluru: “There is a two-three-fold increased risk of Glaucoma in people having moderate to high myopia. The risk is independent of the fluid pressure of the eye. About 30% of Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) patients have myopia. The probability of someone with myopia going on to develop Glaucoma depends on age, family history and the level of myopia, whether mild or severe.

He added: “Thin corneas, high myopia or family history are risk factors for developing Glaucoma. Over the years, individuals having both myopia and glaucoma would experience negative changes in their vision. Regular eye checkups are crucial in these cases to check for progression of the disease and follow a proper treatment plan.”

Said Dr. P Sunitha, Consultant – Ophthalmologist at Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital, “Considering the linkage between myopia and Glaucoma, it is important to take several preventive steps. Myopia can be controlled in children by limiting their near-work activities like reading, computer use, playing video games, and watching TV from close distance, all of which impose a high visual demand on their eyes. They should be encouraged to spend more time in outdoor activities. It is also important to wear proper corrective lenses. People with myopia should get their eyes checked up twice a year. Lack of awareness, limited access to diagnostic equipment and poor compliance for regular eye checkups are some of the diagnostic challenges in identifying glaucoma and myopia in early stages.”

Said Dr. Ram S Mirlay: “Two eye-screening studies done in 2012 at a school in Kolar between the age of 6-16 years found an 11.5% prevalence of myopia. In 2016, a study at Udupi found a myopia prevalence of 4%. India is the second most populated country in the world with around 41% of population above 18 years of age. The incidence of myopia would be significant.”

“Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye disease caused by damage to the optic nerve, which gradually leads to loss of eyesight. Peripheral vision is affected first. One of the major risk factors is high eye pressure. There are no warning signs till significant damage has already been done. Treatment mainly revolves around lowering the Intraocular pressure (the fluid pressure of the eye) through medication or laser surgery. About 12 million people, aged 40 years and older, suffer from glaucoma in India” says Dr. Archana S, Regional Head – Clinical Services, Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital.

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