Measurement of intraocular pressure in the Gerontology Centre in Vršac in April 2014, where the Hemofarm Foundation donated moving apparatuses for measuring intraocular pressure

Glaucoma ranks second as a cause of blindness in the world and as such it was recognized and treated as a priority disease by the World Health Organisation. About 70 million people suffer from glaucoma in the world today, out of whom about 7 million are blind. It is estimated that in 2020 approximately 90 million will be the sufferers and nearly 10 million blind. Glaucoma affects approximately 1-2% of the population and the percentage of sufferers increases with age. Glaucoma in fact represents a group of diseases that lead to the deterioration of the optic nerve, narrowing the field of vision from the periphery to the centre and finally to permanent vision loss unless the disease is recognized and treated. It is a chronic disease that cannot be cured, but by being treated, and the treatment lasts for a lifetime, vision loss can be prevented and the quality of life preserved. The most significant risk factor for glaucoma is higher intraocular pressure. It is also the only factor that can be worked on. The treatment is usually carried out by instilment of drops that reduce intraocular pressure. Beside drops, surgery is sometimes necessary or the patient is treated by laser.

As it was already noted, the possibility of contracting glaucoma in the elderly age is significantly higher and given that the life expectancy is longer, the number of sufferers from glaucoma is constantly growing. Unfortunately, there are no accurate data for Serbia yet, but it is estimated that there are between 50 and 100,000 sufferers, and it is considered that 50% of sufferers have been undiagnosed, not only here but in the world, too. In Sweden in 2013, a big study was conducted showing that in an age group of 55 – 59, the percentage of sufferers was around 0.55%, while in the age group of 75 -79, this percentage was 2.73% (meaning, 5 times higher). Because of all of this, an active approach is necessary and preventive actions consisting of having intraocular pressure measured especially for people over 60 are desirable and such actions should be frequent, but not only during the Glaucoma Week which has been organised at the global level for 6 years during the second week of March. The Serbia Third Age Movement is very active in this country. It gathers people who are over 60 and in collaboration with healthcare professionals and friends of the Movement, it strives to preserve and improve the quality of life by taking care of health, by sports activities, culture and any type of support for citizens in the “golden age”; it also included the preventive intraocular pressure measurement in their activities. Such action was already carried out in the framework of the Olympiad of Sports, Culture and Health of the Serbia Third Age Movement held in early October 2013 in Vrnjačka Banja. The Hemofarm Company from Vršac recognized the need and importance of such actions and donated 9 apparatuses for intraocular pressure measurement on the field to the Movement and the organisation of the retired. Thanks to this donation, and for our fellow citizens’ benefit, actions of intraocular pressure measurement in the pensioners’ organizations in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Niš and other towns in Serbia will regularly take place along with the participation of doctors and other health workers. Great action will again be organized at the Olympiad of Sports, Culture and Health which will be held in Vrnjačka Banja in September. Thanks to the donation of Hemofarm, a company which manufactures medication for lowering intraocular pressure, and to enthusiasts among health workers and doctors who will be personally and voluntarily engaged, it is possible to make contributions to the fight against blindness and to meaningful and higher quality of life.

Prim. dr Lidija Magrašević, oftalmolog
Šef odseka za glaukom Klinike za očne bolesti
“Prof dr Ivan Stanković” KBC Zvezdara