World Glaucoma Day is observed on March 12 every year across the world. This is an important day that seeks to raise awareness about the group of eye diseases known as glaucoma. The day is part of a week of raising awareness about this disease and ensuring that it is caught early. Early detection of glaucoma improves the chances of stopping or at least slowing the disease down with appropriate treatments. The blindness caused by glaucoma is irreversible, but if caught early, the disease can be treated and people will not have to endure the difficulties of blindness when it is preventable.
History of World Glaucoma Day
World Glaucoma Day is observed on March 12 every year. This day is observed worldwide as part of the week set aside to raise awareness and eliminate blindness caused by glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the name of several eye diseases that can cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. Often the diseases develop slowly and don’t cause any pain, which makes it easy to ignore till it’s too late. Blindness caused by glaucoma is irreversible. However, the disease is treatable if caught early.
Damage caused to the optic nerve by glaucoma can be treated to halt the progression of the disease or, at the very least, slow it down. While there are some causes of glaucoma that have a sudden onset, most of the time, these diseases develop gradually and can be caught in time to prevent blindness.
The leading cause of glaucoma is a buildup of fluid that causes an increase in pressure in the eye. Glaucoma disease is caused when the aqueous humor — a natural fluid produced by the eye — fails to drain out naturally from the eye.
Usually, the fluid drains out of the eye and is replaced with fresh aqueous humor, which the eye produces constantly. However, if something is wrong with the drainage angle, then the fluid will be retained in the eye, and over time, the fluid buildup will increase the pressure on the optic nerve. The fibers on the optic nerve start dying as a result of the pressure. Over time, all the fibers die, causing total, irreversible blindness.
World Glaucoma Day timeline
Hippocrates notes a type of blindness in the elderly and calls it ‘glaykoseis,’ the earliest record of glaucoma.
British surgeon Banister identifies the link between eye pressure and glaucoma.
Doctor Franciscus Donders identifies intraocular pressure as causing the disease and names it Glaukoma simplex.
Pilocarpine is discovered and used as part of the treatment for glaucoma.
World Glaucoma Day FAQs
Is glaucoma curable?
Glaucoma has no cure, but it is treatable if it’s caught early.
What are the warning signs of glaucoma?
Seeing halos around lights, vision loss, redness of the eye, and tunnel vision are some of the warning signs of glaucoma.
How long does it take to go blind from glaucoma?
On average, it takes about 10 to 15 years for people to go fully blind after the onset of glaucoma.
How to Observe World Glaucoma Day
Share information about glaucoma
Many people ignore minor issues with their eyes if they are not accompanied by pain. Educating people about the symptoms of glaucoma is essential.
Take an online course
If you’re a healthcare professional interested in preventing and addressing glaucoma, there are a lot of resources, including courses. Take an online course over at the World Glaucoma Association to brush up on your knowledge.
Run a campaign
Get patients and doctors involved in a social media campaign on this day that raises awareness about the disease. Make sure you have a Q&A session to ensure all the information gets out there.
5 Facts About Glaucoma That Will Surprise You
It’s the leading cause of blindness
Glaucoma is incredibly common and one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
The risk increases with age
The likelihood of you contracting glaucoma increases as you get older, with other risk factors including family history and use of steroids.
There are three primary forms
Depending on how the blockage forms, glaucoma has three types — open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, and normal-tension glaucoma.
Treatment includes drugs and surgery
Treatments for glaucoma include eye drops to lower the eye pressure or reduce the amount of fluid and laser surgery to create drainage for the fluid.
Everyone is at risk
While the likelihood of contracting glaucoma increases with age and with several risk factors, almost everyone is at risk of contracting the disease at all stages of their lives.
Why World Glaucoma Day is Important
We want people to be informed
We think everyone should be aware of the dangers of glaucoma and how preventable it is. We want to help prevent blindness by assisting people with getting diagnosed.
We appreciate the W.G.A.
We think that the World Glaucoma Association does a lot of incredible work providing free resources to educate people about this disease. We want to honor their efforts and spread the word.
We want to hear from doctors
Many doctors use this opportunity to provide healthcare information free of charge. We want to learn from them and ensure that we’re preventing the development of glaucoma in people.
World Glaucoma Day dates