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In search of the light

Mumbai’s Viji Venkatesh survived permanent blindness due to glaucoma. She’s now made it her mission to create awareness about it, during World Glaucoma Week that falls on March 8-14

“One out of every 11 Indians above 60 lose their eyesight due to glaucoma. Yet, most are unaware of this deadly disease,” shares Viji Venkatesh, a glaucoma survivor, who now runs a support group, Eye2Eye, for people affected by the disease.

Dr Rajul S Parikh (right) will be sharing information on glaucoma at the workshop organised by Eye2Eye
Dr Rajul S Parikh (right) will be sharing information on glaucoma at the workshop organised by Eye2Eye

Often referred to as the Silent Kiss of Night, according to Glaucoma Research Foundation, this is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. It goes unnoticed mostly, and is the second most common cause of blindness.

Viji Venkatesh
Viji Venkatesh

Starting tomorrow, World Glaucoma Week (March 8 to 14) is being observed globally. Venkatesh, with help from her eye surgeon, Dr Rajul S Parikh, has organised a special awareness camp tomorrow. This will include a talk about the disease and steps to prevent it. “Most don’t pay attention, unless it is very late.

Though there’s no cure, if diagnosed early, it can be stopped from spreading. So, with some awareness, one can save themselves and others from permanent blindness,” she advises. What is more alarming is the fact that glaucoma is most commonly hereditary, and can affect both adults (usually after they turn 40) as well as newborn children a lesson Venkatesh learnt only after losing vision in her right eye.

“I was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2009. I had no idea till I lost vision in my right eye. It’s a pity because my mother had it, and despite the fact that I work in the medical field, I had no idea that it is hereditary,” shares Venkatesh, adding, “So, if someone in your family has the disease, you are likely to get it too,” she informs.

Venkatesh, who works as a Leukemia counsellor for Max Foundation, says that the support group will also offer free screenings and conduct workshops on glaucoma. “There’s no cure for it, but early diagnosis can help prevent permanent blindness. Therefore, I would advise people to go for regular eye check-ups, at least once a year,” she reminds.

On: Today 
At: Shreeji Eye Clinic & Palak’s Glaucoma Care Centre, M Vasanji Road, Andheri (E). 
Call: 9820600906 
Log on to: Facebook.com/eye2eyeglaucoma

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