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Glaucoma to affect 60M by 2010
[Posted: Thu 16/02/2006 www.irishhealth.com]
An estimated 60 million people worldwide will be affected by the eye disease, glaucoma, by 2010, new research has found.
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in the world. It is not a single disorder, but refers to a range of conditions that causes the pressure inside the eye to become too high. If left untreated, it can lead to damage of the optic nerve and a resulting loss of vision. The condition can be detected at a routine eye check-up.
According to a research report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the global toll of the disease is set to reach 60 million by 2010 and 80 million by 2020.
A team of researchers reviewed all the data on glaucoma from studies based on populations. These figures were then used to calculate rates of the disease by age, sex and ethnicity. The United Nations' (UN) projections for the disease were also considered.
Based on these calculations, the researchers estimate that 60.5 million people will have the disease by 2010. Of these, 60% will be female.
People in Asia will account for almost half of these cases. However between 2010 and 2020, the disease is likely to increase most rapidly in India.
The researchers note that there are treatments for glaucoma in the developed world, which would help to reduce the amount of disability the disease causes.
"The fact that it is irreversible, difficult to detect and difficult to treat means that it is often viewed as less of an urgent issue, particularly in developing nations where other more remediable diseases are more prevalent", commented Dr Rupert Bourne, a glaucoma specialist at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
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