Glaucoma, which is caused by an increase in the size of the eye, is the cause of blindness and affects between 1% and 2% of the world’s population, but, according to recent research This was done by the Datafolha that Agência Efe had accessed, only 49% of Brazilians knew that a silent and incurable disease could cause blindness.
The study, conducted by the Datafolha Center by Allergan / AbbVie and completed in October 2021, also showed that, although less than half of respondents were aware of the major events of glaucoma, 74% of them said they were aware of the disease.
This fact is of concern to professionals and emphasizes the importance of building public awareness to seek early diagnosis and adequate screening, according to the vice president of the SBG (Brazilian Society of Glaucoma). ), Emilio Suzuki, explained in an interview with Efe.
The ophthalmologist said that there was some “negative” effect on the disease, which was due to the fact that it was quiet. Glaucoma occurs when an increase in intraocular pressure begins to cause brain damage, which is not sensitive, resulting in invisible damage to the patient without pain or early changes.
The increase in this occurs due to too much fluid in the eye, which can occur due to too much of this fluid or due to problems that make it difficult for the body to absorb it.
What is the treatment for glaucoma?
Although simple, the treatment – usually done with the use of eye drops that treat this change – is for life, and as a result the results are not clearly visible, compliance as usually low, which can have a major impact on patients, since they only. to see a doctor when they suffer some changes in the eye.
It can also be an option for laser or surgical treatments that can improve the fluid or reduce the product, depending on the stage of the disease or the type of glaucoma.
“Glaucoma is an asymptomatic disease, so people may not know it at first, so they have to rely on the doctor and the experiments they perform. The more stable the patient is, the faster the diagnosis, the less impact the patient will have on his or her vision ”, he added.
However, for Suzuki, the biggest challenge is access to knowledge, which can change the current situation and make many people seek local experts to get regular check-ups, especially for people who are considered at risk, including people over the age of 40, black. , with myopia, with a history of high blood pressure or who is on steroids.
According to the Datafolha survey, which surveyed 2,088 people over the age of 16 from 130 Brazilian municipalities, only 42% of them said they saw a optician at least once a year, and most many (95%) do “reading of the text”.
However, only 4 out of 10 reported other experiments, such as cataracts or ultrasound.
For this reason, SBG and pharmaceutical company Allergan, a company that is part of the AbbVie group, have launched a national, anti-glaucoma month in May, with data released to promote Recognize the public and encourage research to complete. Early diagnosis and follow-up as necessary.
In addition to face-to-face interviews at clinics and clinics in some areas, strategic planning brings information to different audiences through different means of communication, and also will include the participation of actor and digital influencer Ary Fontoura, who has more than 4. million followers on Instagram.
“Our goal is to demystify the virus, deconstruct unresolved taboos and create a knowledge network. The more accurate and accessible the knowledge we have, the better, because that way we can reach more people (…) We want glaucoma to be well-known for diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, dengue or even covid-19, “said Suzuki.
Impact of transmission
For physicians, this period was a “time-consuming period” when covid-19 spread throughout, leading to the incidence of many glaucoma patients, who also lost sold due to lack of repair and maintenance.
“At the onset of the epidemic, the problem of being at home is a risk factor for glaucoma. Many patients do not seek treatment or stop their treatment, not least because most areas provided these services have closed their doors and reopened, then, with lower levels of assistance, ”the expert said.
“The important thing is to take care of the covid-19, of the ICUs, so we are wasting time, and many patients are injured, and now is the time to take care of those who were lost during the outbreak,” he said. he added.
According to Atlas Vision, organized by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IABP), at least 3 million blind people worldwide have glaucoma, while an additional 4 million suffer from dementia. visual impairment by the disease.
The report also estimates that the number of people affected by glaucoma, at some stage and with or without diagnosis, could reach 118 million by 2040.