The lack of public knowledge about glaucoma surprises me. Although pretty much everybody has heard of it, little is generally known other than the fact that it affects the eye.
Still today we are hearing glaucoma specialists calling upon the medical community to educate their patients and the public about the dangers of glaucoma. Glaucoma-induced blindness is unnecessary and it is largely the lack of knowledge about the disease and the lack of obvious symptoms, which have earned it its title as the "silent blinding disease" or the "sneak thief of sight". In fact, according to a study by Sommer & co-workers in the early 90s, the silent nature of the disease, particularly in the early stages, means that up to 50% of sufferers are unaware that they have glaucoma. This figure could actually reach an astounding 90% in underdeveloped countries.
Taking these factors into account, there is little wonder that glaucoma remains the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, even though ophthalmologists do have good therapies and surgical interventions at their disposal to prevent this needless blindness.
The Ophthalmology Times group has been fortunate enough to be named the official publication of this important event and I am honoured to play a part, albeit a small one, in this commendable initiative. Please look out for coverage of these key activities both on our website ( http://www.oteurope.com/), within our weekly newsletters and in upcoming issues of our magazine. I do hope that you will join me in wishing the co-ordinators of World Glaucoma Day good luck in their efforts to reduce the unnecessary blindness caused by this condition.