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Hua Yan and his students conduct eye check for rural resident. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
March 6 to 12 marks the 15th Global Glaucoma Week. Hua Yan, professor of ophthalmology in Tianjin Medical University, points out that glaucoma is the most prevalent irreversible blinding eye disease in the world, and the key lies in early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
Yan and the China Welfare Foundation for the Disabled recently initiated the China Rural Glaucoma Prevention and Control Project - the first large-scale nationwide glaucoma epidemiological investigation and prevention intervention project at all ages in rural areas of China.
It aims to find the prevalence of glaucoma in rural areas, as well as targeted prevention and control measures.
The project uses an epidemiological survey method combining on-site filling in the screening form with data collection by electronic information terminals. The project also unifies the diagnosis and treatment standards, strictly trains the staff involved in the survey and conducts consistency tests.
A total of 52,041 residents aged ≥ 6 years old in 22 counties of 10 provinces across the country selected and invited to participate in the survey, with 48,398 valid data collected, 1,358 suspicious glaucoma and 804 confirmed glaucoma patients found.
The current incidence of glaucoma in people over 6 years old is 1.7 percent, 2.1 percent in people over 40 years old, and primary angle-closure glaucoma is still the predominant type of glaucoma in China (accounting for 44.4 percent of all glaucoma), followed by primary open angle glaucoma (34.7 percent), congenital glaucoma (2.6 percent), and other types of glaucoma (18.3 percent). Among them, 521 patients with glaucoma are diagnosed in this screening, so the awareness rate of glaucoma in this study is 35.2 percent.
In this screening, it was demonstrated that the prevalence of glaucoma differs by gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, marital status, educational attainment, annual household income, and region.
In details, the prevalence of glaucoma in females is higher than that in males, and increased with age, especially in people over 60 years old. Additionally, smoking, stroke, and family history of glaucoma are also important risk factors for glaucoma.
The initiation and completion of the China Rural Glaucoma Prevention and Control Project has provided a practical basis and model for the prevention and treatment of glaucoma in rural areas of China, and presented a unique Chinese program for the prevention and treatment of glaucoma in the world.
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