Glaucoma is an important cause of blindness and more importantly a challenge that we do not seem to be closing in on. India has been estimated to have 11.2 million cases of glaucoma over the age of 40 years. There are an estimated 6.48 million with primary open angle glaucoma and 2.58 with primary angle closure glaucoma. These figures are important because possibly 90% of glaucoma in India is undetected. There are several major barriers to the management. One is the barrier of detection, the second is the barrier to treatment. Besides the detection in our clinics where we need to examine every individual with a clinical rigor, since the costs of missing glaucoma are too high, there is the issue of detection in the periphery. Who will do the detection is there adequate manpower and instrumentation. The detection in the periphery can only take place from an abiding partnership between the Government and the doctors in the private enterprise. A plan has to be made and implemented at the earliest. Public health studies in different fields such as child mortality have shown a significant reduction in even countries that are considered to be very poor. India falls in a bigger and better category of manpower and resources. In essence, we have the means, we have the data and we have the thinking. A meeting of minds between the Government and the Private sector with rapid planning and implementation will be a big step forward towards tackling, what all of us call ‘ Needless Blindness in India’.
Glaucoma Science and Research is a core area. Science has to keep pace with the growing aspirations of a community and an economy that is set to move ahead. The difficulties in establishing a research infrastructure and the lack of recognition that goes with it in our country have been a significant barrier to progress. Even as these barriers will not disappear quickly, it is still important to go the extra mile to strive for creating knowledge and publishing your science and research. A subspecialty in a country is often known and respected internationally for its science. Since we have a place in the global community this is an area that must become close to the hearts of everyone.
The Glaucoma society of India will continue to augment its educational activity and clinical skill transfer through the continuing medical education programs across the country and in the university medical colleges. It will also participate in the Glaucoma Awareness Week across the country and encourage all its members and all ophthalmologists to participate.
I would like to encourage all members of the Glaucoma Society of India and in fact all ophthalmologists of the country to join hands and participate in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and in creating awareness. Come – become a partner. Let’s together – do all we can.
Glaucoma Society of India.
Tel. 0452 – 435 6100