Early Detection of Primary Open Angle
Glaucoma: Is It Happening?
Lakshmi Keshava, 4th Cross Shivabagh
Mangalore, India - 575002
Context (Background): Glaucoma is the second leading cause loss of vision in the world and it is aptly described as the silent thief of vision. The absence of symptoms leads to a delayed presentation and irreversible blindness. The present study was designed to determine the stage of glaucoma at the time of presentation.
Aim: To detect the proportion of cases which presented in different stages of glaucoma.
Settings & Design: A prospective, observational, non-interventional study was conducted in a medical college hospital.
Methods and Material: 50 newly detected cases of glaucoma [primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and normal tension glaucoma (NTG)] were analyzed for the severity and the stage of glaucoma at the time of their presentation.
Statistical Analysis Used: The results of the study have been discussed in terms of the proportions and percentages. The statistical comparisons were done by using Pearsonâ€™s chi square test.
Results: Of the 100 eyes which were studied, only 25% had mild, 40% had moderate and 35% had severe glaucoma at the time of the diagnosis. There was no statistically significant difference in the distribution of the different stages of glaucoma in the different age and sex groups. (Pearsonâ€™s Chi square=4.909 p value=0.086). Only 1 case had a family history of glaucoma. Absolute glaucoma was more common in the females and in the 6th decade and it was seen in 7 eyes. 10% patients had bilateral blindness (legal blindness) and 18% had unilateral blindness. Up to 28% had blindness in at least one eye. 48% cases had undergone at least one eye check up in the past 5 years, either in a hospital, an optical shop or at an eye camp and yet, had not been diagnosed /suspected as having glaucoma.
Conclusion: This study concludes that late presentation of glaucoma cases, failure in detecting glaucoma during the previous eye check ups and the high prevalence of blindness which was caused by glaucoma, point out to an alarming situation which reflects an inherent weakness in the methodology for detecting the glaucoma cases. An increased awareness about the causes of blindness among the population and intensification of the present efforts is needed to bridge the gap. The shift of the spectrum of the detected cases to the left may help in increasing the years of sight and in improving the quality of life of glaucoma patients.