HA NOI — The low rate of glaucoma detection, at only 50 per cent, is a challenge to blindness prevention, said Director of the National Eye Hospital Do Nhu Hon.
Hon was speaking at meeting on Tuesday celebrating World Glaucoma Week to start tomorrow.
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises. If left untreated the patient may lose vision and even become blind.
A survey conducted in Nam Dinh and Thai Binh provinces last year showed that the glaucoma rate was between 2.2-2.4 per cent in the community. Up to 94 per cent of people in the community had little or no information about the disease.
Hon said that besides the low detection rate, a shortage of financial resources and under trained medical staff offer additional challenges to the elimination of glaucoma.
The hospital estimated that Viet Nam currently had around 635,000 glaucoma patients, 2.3 per cent of the country's total population. In addition, around 25,000 people have become blind due to the disease, accounting for 6.5 per cent of blind people.
"Glaucoma is ranked second (after Cataracts) as the most common reason for vision loss in Viet Nam and the world," Hon said.
"However, the disease is preventable via early detection and proper treatment," he stressed, adding that long-term self-medication with corticosteroid containing eye drops, amongst others, do little to solve the problem.
Hospital Glaucoma Department Head Dao Thi Lam Huong said that patients were often brought in at a very late stage of vision deterioration, which multiplied the risk of blindness.
According to Huong, people over-35, those with high blood pressure, diabetes patients and people with relatives suffering from glaucoma are most likely to catch the disease. — VNS