Background: Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the commonest cause of irreversible blindness. Most hospitals in Nepal are carrying out opportunistic glaucoma screening for those attending hospitals for any eye consultation. However, there are no reports detailing the visual damage at the time of diagnosis confirming the early detection of cases.
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the clinical features and visual status at the time of diagnosis of POAG in the Nepalese population.
Methods: We evaluated 173 newly diagnosed consecutive cases of POAG from three hospitals across Nepal. Glaucoma evaluation was carried out detailing the findings of visual acuity and visual fields. Continuous data were presented as means and standard deviations (SD) and categorical data as proportions (95% CI). Unpaired t-tests compared continuous variables with p value set at a 5% level of significance.
Results: Out of total patients, 82.1% were diagnosed incidentally while they visited the hospital for symptoms not expected to be for glaucoma. Only 9.8% of cases were aware of them being at risk of developing glaucoma and thus attended hospitals for regular check-up. Visual field examination revealed mean scores of mean deviation (MD) as low as-13.24 dB and pattern standard deviation of 7.34 dB. Glaucoma hemifield test was outside normal limits in 61.5% of eyes tested. Additionally, 4.7% patients were blind.
Conclusion: POAG cases presented late with significant visual damage. Existing opportunistic screening for glaucoma in Nepal needs to be combined with community-based glaucoma awareness programs to bring more people to hospital at the early stage of the disease.
Journal of Kathmandu Medical College
Vol. 3, No. 2, Issue 8, Apr.-Jun., 2014
Page : 49-57