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Glaucoma is vision thief, Cataract is sight killer: Experts

Glaucoma is vision thief, Cataract is sight killer: Experts

By Rishira Jain New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) Health experts from various eye institutes have blamed Cataract and Glaucoma for around 70 per cent of all eye-related diseases in the country, leading to either temporary or permanent blindness. The medicos compared these two silent vision killers, coming to the conclusion that although cure is available for both, vision loss in Glaucoma can never be restored, while Cataract leads to permanent blindness, in some cases. According to Prof JS Titiyal, Chairman of the National Eye Bank at Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, Glaucoma is a silent vision thief, since there as no visible symptoms, until permanent damage is caused. Human eyes function with the help of two very important components, cornea and lens. They work together, focusing the light on the right angle, so as to give a clear picture to the brain. The quality of the lens decreases gradually, with age, Dr Titiyal explained. In Glaucoma, fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, which the optic nerve is not able to drain naturally. This builds up pressure on optic nerve, leading to permanent damage. However, the condition is totally curable, if medical help is taken immediately. Glaucoma does not lead to blindness, but the vision loss is permanent, Dr Titiyal added. He said Glaucoma can stabilise in 95 out of 100 people and it is never the same in both the eyes. Dr Titiyal said a white membrane forms over the cornea, which hinders with the reflection of light. This opaque membrane, which obstructs light, is called Cataract. It can happen due to various reasons like maturity or thickening of cornea, which increases the density of the centre and changes the colour of the eye. Patient suffers from blurred vision, difficulty in reading books, newspapers or TV captions, doubling/tripling of objects, glare, coloured halo or second sight. 'An interesting part of the disease is that people sometimes develop second sight, which means their short sighted vision improves, while long-sighted vision suffers,' the Professor added. Dr Titiyal said they keep on organising different programmes and events, including conferences, seminars and health walks, to make people aware about eyes and how to best take care of them. According to another expert, Dr Sushil Choudhury of ICARE hospital in Noida, Cataract is the most common cause of vision loss in people above 40. He said most people were not even aware of eye diseases, leave alone their treatment. According to the Eye-Surgeon, vision decreases gradually with age, leading to various eye-related ailments like Myopia (poor distance vision), Hypermetropia (poor near vision), Astigmatism and Presbyopia. During a recent lecture at the India International Centre, Dr Choudhury mentioned Diabetic Retinopathy as a serious condition, in which medical help should be sought immediately, else it could lead to permanent vision damage. He said eye is the most important and delicate organ of the body, which needs minimum care and attention. UNI RJ SNU 1238

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