The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), is celebrating World Glaucoma Week from March 12 to 18 under the theme 'The World is Bright, Protect Your Sight'.
Glaucoma is the second largest cause of blindness globally for those aged 50 years or older. Dr Khulood al-Mutaweh, head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Section at the MoPH, said: “Qatar participates in the World Glaucoma Week in March every year to increase public awareness and knowledge regarding this disease and by inviting the targeted group to receive eye checkups by the ophthalmologists. This will help in the early detection of this disease, as glaucoma causes a gradual vision loss without any warning signs. Therefore, it is sometimes called the silent thief of sight.”
Dr Badria al-Malki, national co-ordinator for blindness prevention and assistant executive director for continuing care and integrated services at PHCC, said glaucoma is one of the leading causes for blindness in the world, with more than 80mn people infected with it. Through eye clinics in health centres, PHCC has succeeded in detecting and treating many glaucoma cases that have been referred by the family doctors or general practitioners to ophthalmologists.
Dr Zakia al-Ansari, consultant ophthalmologist and head of the Glaucoma Unit at HMC, said: "One of the most important causes of glaucoma is a defect in the drainage of watery fluid inside the eye, causing a high pressure inside the eye. Eventually, this leads to a progressive loss of optic nerve cells and a gradual decline in the visual field and may lead to blindness if not detected early.”
Dr al-Ansari added: "HMC's Ophthalmology Department co-ordinates community awareness activities at Souq Waqif on March 17, including free eye examinations for the general public and spreading awareness messages about glaucoma.”
Dr Khulood al-Mutaweh
Dr Badria al-Malki
Dr Zakia al-Ansari