World Glaucoma Day Date in the current year: March 12, 2024

World Glaucoma Day Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can result in irreversible blindness if left untreated but can be successfully managed if diagnosed early. World Glaucoma Day is observed annually on March 12 to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of glaucoma and the importance of its early detection.

Glaucoma is an umbrella term for a number of chronic, progressive, degenerative disorders of the optic nerve that lead to visual field defects and may result in blindness if left untreated. Risk factors for glaucoma include increased pressure inside the eye (ocular hypertension), family history of glaucoma, prolonged use of steroid medications, eye injury, diseases that restrict blood flow to the eye, and age.

The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, and less common types include closed-angle glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma usually has a gradual onset and is asymptomatic at early stages. Only about 10% of people affected by this type of glaucoma experience symptoms such as sudden eye pain and redness, very high intraocular pressure, and nausea. As time passes, peripheral vision begins to decline, followed by central vision. If left untreated, open-angle glaucoma results in irreversible blindness. Closed-angle glaucoma can develop gradually or have a sudden onset.

Due to its gradual onset and a lack of symptoms, glaucoma is sometimes called “the silent thief of sight”. It is the world’s second-leading cause of blindness after cataracts and the leading cause of irreversible but preventable blindness. When glaucoma is diagnosed early, medication (usually eye drops), laser treatment, or several types of surgery can be used to decrease eye pressure and slow the progression of the disease.

Since glaucoma is asymptomatic at early stages, when it’s most easily treatable, regular eye checkups are the most reliable way to catch it early. It is recommended to have an eye check-up at least every 2–4 years before the age of 40, every 2–3 years between the age of 40 and 60, and every 1–2 years once you turn 60.

World Glaucoma Day is held annually on March 12. It kicks off World Glaucoma Week, a global initiative coordinated by the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association. The main goal of World Glaucoma Day and Week is to help eliminate glaucoma-related blindness by raising awareness of the disease and the importance of regular eye check-ups.

On the occasion of World Glaucoma Week, ophthalmology organizations and foundations, patient support groups, clinics, eye care professionals, and other stakeholders around the globe organize various events to highlight the importance of early detection of glaucoma. They include free screenings, seminars and webinars, fundraisers, social media campaigns, and other events and activities.

There are many ways to observe World Glaucoma Day and help raise awareness. You can learn more about this disease and share the facts you’ve learned with others, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist, donate to organizations that promote access to eye care in developing countries, and spread the word on social media with the hashtags #WorldGlaucomaDay and #WorldGlaucomaWeek.

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