New Delhi (India), February 22: Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht, organized “Global Inclusivity Run for Awareness of Glaucoma by visually impaired”. Around 2800 Visually Impaired along with Guides took confident step forward across 62 countries/regions, leading to Glaucoma awareness to over 300,000. This initiative is first of its kind Globally and has recently received endorsement for its 3rd season, from World Glaucoma Association, Netherlands, which conducts ‘World Glaucoma Week’ every year starting on 12 March (World Glaucoma Day). Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment worldwide and is called “the silent thief of sight” since it does not show any noticeable symptoms until its advanced stage.
“Through this Global Initiative, I want to give the visually impaired the gift of confidence and make people aware of Glaucoma all at once.” Says Sukhdeep with smiles. He himself is a Marathoner, Ultra Triathlete, Ironman 140.6 distance and have run many times with cloth on eyes to spread Glaucoma awareness. He further states, Glaucoma prevention and treatment have long been at the focus of international directives, including the WHO’s Vision 2020 campaign and World Glaucoma Association, Netherlands.
As per WHO report globally there are 43 million people living with blindness and 295 million people living with moderate-to-severe visual impairment. Out of these, a huge 77% is completely preventable or treatable. Only early diagnosis, followed by treatments that slow its progression can curb blindness. As per WHO vision impairment poses an enormous global financial burden with the annual global costs of productivity losses.
According to World Glaucoma Association, President Dr. Neeru Gupta, “World Glaucoma Week is a unique initiative that puts a spotlight on Glaucoma as the leading cause of preventable irreversible blindness worldwide. The prompt diagnosis and treatment of Glaucoma can prevent needless vision impairment. The active coming together of the international community helps to stimulate awareness around the world.” Agreeing to this, Sukhdeep shares Anyone can participate in 3rd Global Inclusivity Run by visiting WGA website and registering for the event created for the World Glaucoma week. Spreading awareness within own network, helps in the reduction of blindness.
Lack of awareness about Glaucoma is a primary reason for its late detection, significantly increasing the risk of blindness. Looking at this scenario, Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht, a career banker started the Global Glaucoma Awareness Initiative in his individual capacity which is now in its 3rd edition. Participants practiced and trained with Guide Runners under the tutorials and guidance from him. As a rule, Guide could be non-runners family/ friends too. All can learn more about Glaucoma by visiting websites of WHO and WHA or Doctors. Become a change agent in reduction of Global blindness by knowing about Glaucoma and spreading awareness.
According to a study published in BMC Ophthalmology, about 15% of global blindness is due to Glaucoma, and around 600,000 people go blind annually. Naturally, some people carry more risk of developing Glaucoma-related visual impairment. Globally, African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage people are more prone to Glaucoma. Moreover, those over 40 years old who have a family history of Glaucoma, diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, or other health problems need to be careful about this condition. Widespread usage of long-term steroid medications has further increased the risk of Glaucoma among Covid-19 patients. Therefore, raising public awareness and knowledge of Glaucoma is a crucial aspect of addressing the overwhelming consequences of the disease.
The Global Glaucoma Awareness Initiative will play a vital role in promoting inclusivity among the visually impaired and diffuse a global impact all at once.
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