One of the great things about big ophthalmology conferences — like the World Glaucoma e-Congress (WGC 2021)
— is that we get an opportunity to learn in detail about how clinicians operate in different countries.
This year has provided a remarkable number of symposiums focusing on the activity of glaucoma associations around the world.
We’ve learned from doctors in Japan, South Korea, Sudan and others, and we’ve come out better for it Sri Lanka Symposium.
Day 3 offered another country-focused symposium: Glaucoma Interest Group of the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka — Breakthroughs to Combat Dilemmas in Glaucoma Care in Sri Lanka ลาวสามัคคี วีไอพี.
Yes, the WGC does seem to favor symposium names running on the longer side, but why not — and perhaps the greater the content, the longer the name.
Here, experts covered a wide variety of issues pertaining to glaucoma in Sri Lanka, an island nation south of India with a population of just under 22 million.
92 ophthalmologists for 22 million people A key speaker during the symposium was
Dr. Dilruwani Aryasingha, a consultant ophthalmologist at the Golden Key Eye
and ENT Hospital (Colombo, Sri Lanka), who gave a general outline of ophthalmology in her country, along with the state of glaucoma treatment.
She reported on various shortcomings: there are only 45 eye units operating in Sri Lanka;
laser for trabeculoplasty is unavailable; and only six units have imaging facilities.
This is compounded by the fact that there are only 92 consultant ophthalmologists working on the island.
According to Dr. Aryasingha, the prevalence of glaucoma provides challenges — especially as many patients live in isolated, rural communities
and are often economically disadvantaged. Among those aged 40 and over, 1.7% are blind and 2.1% are affected by glaucoma.
And despite disease severity, many patients are non-compliant due to issues like cost of treatment, errors in drop installation,
and lack of available facilities. Regarding treatment, the first choice has shifted from beta-blockers to prostaglandin analogs, which only became available in 2016.
Next, Dr. Lalitha Senarath, chairperson of the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Symposium
discussed the specificities of glaucoma and provided in-depth knowledge on some of the most common varieties.
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