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Uniting for a glaucoma free world

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World Glaucoma Week

Jakarta, IO – World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 57.5 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. 50% of patients in developed countries are unaware they suffer from glaucoma and this number increases to 90% in developing countries, including Indonesia. Glaucoma is permanent and cannot be repaired, and is the second most common cause of blindness, namely 12.3%, after cataracts. Of the global 39 million cases of blindness, 3.2 million are caused by glaucoma. 

In Indonesia, 4 to 5 people out of 1,000 suffer from glaucoma. The incidence of glaucoma is estimated to increase along with increasing life expectancy. “Ideally, quality resources must be free from interference with the five senses, including from visual impairment and blindness. Perform regular eye examinations so that glaucoma can be detected as early as possible, and if signs or symptoms are found then they can be followed up with appropriate treatment,” said the Director of Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Eva Susanti, S.Kp, MKes, in a webinar commemorating World Glaucoma Week which was held on Tuesday (26/3/2024). 

Dr. Eva Susanti
Dr. Eva Susanti, S.Kp, MKes (IO/Esti)

Glaucoma is a disease with no symptoms, and the risk increases with age. Revealed by Dr. dr. Fifin Luthfia Rahmi, MS, Sp.M(K), from the Indonesian Glaucoma Society (IGS), treatment or therapeutic efforts usually will not improve vision, only maintain a current condition. “Risk factors of glaucoma: women, a family history of glaucoma, refractive status such as myopia and hypermetropia, and systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or hypertension,” she said. 

Early detection 

On the same occasion, Dr. dr. Evelyn Komaratih, Sp.M(K), emphasized the importance of glaucoma screening, as early detection to minimize loss of vision function. “Screening uses age standards, namely those under 40 years old once every 2-4 years, those aged 40-60 years old once every 2-3 years, and those aged over 60 years old once every 1-2 years. There is a difference between chronic glaucoma which does not cause symptoms and acute glaucoma. In acute glaucoma, there are symptoms of red eyes, pain in the eyes, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, seeing rainbows or circles of light, and narrowing of the visual field,” the ophthalmologist who practices at Siloam Hospital Surabaya, East Java, explained. 

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Meanwhile, Dr. dr. Virna Dwi Oktariana, Sp.M(K), from RSCM Kirana Eye Health Center, Jakarta, said that glaucoma management aims to maintain vision function and the patient’s quality of life. “The modality for treating glaucoma is to reduce eye pressure with medication, laser, or surgery. For neuroprotection, namely with citicoline, ginkgo biloba, memantine, or vitamin B1, in-depth research is needed,” she concluded. (est)

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