Glaucoma cause of 10% blindness in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — The National Committee for Prevention of Blindness has reported that 10 percent cases of blindness in the Kingdom were caused by glaucoma, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

Dr. Adel Al-Qarni, a retina surgeon at King Khalid Eye Hospital, said the committee's reports showed that 2 to six percent of the people in each region of the Kingdom were blind. The percentage varied between regions.

"Glaucoma has affected 60 million people worldwide with a predicted increase to 80 million people by the year 2020. All of the treatments available at the moment from surgeries to drops do not completely heal the patient from the disease but they do delay vision deterioration," said Al-Qarni.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Dabaan, an ophthalmologist and surgeon at Khamis Mushayt Armed Forces Hospital, said patients of glaucoma lose their eyesight gradually and over time.

"Glaucoma affects 1 percent of the people and some types of glaucoma show symptoms while others don't. People who have a genetic history of the disease or who have frequent eye infection and low immunity are more vulnerable," said Al-Dabaan.

He said 55 percent of the patients have open-angle glaucoma, 12 percent have closure-angle glaucoma, 3 percent have congenital glaucoma and 30 percent have normal tension glaucoma.

"The effects of glaucoma worsen if the pressure in the eye is high. There are many ways to preserve maximum vision for glaucoma patients. They can begin to use eye drops, undergo laser surgery or other surgeries," said Al-Dabaan.