Glaucoma

Each year, our volunteer surgeons provide sight-restoring surgeries to hundreds of men, women, and children who are blinded by glaucoma. Give sight now to support our programs that help those living with this disease to see again.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve, often due to pressure inside the eye. This pressure builds when the eye’s aqueous fluid cannot drain properly. Damage from the pressure causes loss of peripheral vision, and eventually, blindness.

Glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness globally

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness reports that glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness globally. It is expected that 76 million people will have the condition by 2020. Of those affected, 11 million will be blind in both eyes.

Between 2013 and 2040, the number of people with glaucoma is expected to increase by 74 percent. This is primarily due to the aging of the global population, and increased life expectancy in Asia and Africa, regions which are disproportionately affected by the disease.

Your donation will save someone’s sight

Every year, SEE doctors provide free glaucoma surgery to thousands of patients around the world.

Reducing the risk of glaucoma

Ophthalmologists recommend the following strategies to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma:

  1. Exercise frequently and maintain a well-balanced diet
  2. Schedule regular eye exams in order to detect the condition before vision loss occurs
  3. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding regular use of eye drops to prevent intraocular pressure build-up

Risk Factors

Glaucoma is often hereditary, and frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 60. Additionally, it disproportionately affects people of Asian and African descent, who account for 60 and 13 percent of all glaucoma cases, respectively.

Men are more likely than women to have primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, which is caused by pressure that damages the optic nerve.

Preventing Glaucoma

SEE works to prevent glaucoma around the world by:

  • Screening patients and their families
  • Training local eye care personnel in appropriate screening and surgical techniques

How SEE treats Glaucoma

Glaucoma is especially challenging to treat in regions without access to regular eye care services. Traditionally, eye doctors prescribe medicated eye drops to lower intraocular pressure and prevent further vision loss. However, patients in underserved communities rarely have access to high-quality medicated drops, due to the expense and poor compliance. Optic nerve damage is irreversible, so effective treatment methods strive to prevent blindness, including peripheral (loss of peripheral vision) and bilateral (loss of vision in both eyes), before it occurs. SEE International partners with the Glaukos Corporation to treat the disease and train doctors across the globe in the iStent microsurgical technique. During this minimally invasive procedure, ophthalmologists use a local anesthetic to insert a shunt, called the iStent Trabecular MicroBypass. This device facilitates aqueous fluid outflow to reduce intraocular pressure without the need for eye drops.

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