The National Institute of Ophthalmology under the Ministry of Health held a meeting in response to World Glaucoma Week 2015 in Hanoi on March 10.

The event aims to raise public awareness on early glaucoma detection and treatment as the key to preventing optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the world, especially among the elderly.

World Glaucoma Week is a joint global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patients Association to raise awareness of the disease.

The term glaucoma includes a group of eye diseases causing optic nerve damage.

The optic nerve carries images from the retina, or the specialised light sensing tissue, to the brain to be translated as sight. In glaucoma, eye pressure damages the delicate nerve fibers of the optic nerve. When a significant number of nerve fibers are damaged, blind spots develop in the field of vision, ultimately progressing to permanent loss of sight.

Most don't notice these blind areas until much of the optic nerve damage has already occurred. Blindness results from entire nerve decay.

There were as many as 60.5 million patients with glaucoma worldwide in 2010, and scientists estimate the number will increase to 79.6 million by 2020.

Over three million Vietnamese have lost their sight in one eye, 6.6 percent of which caused by glaucoma.-VNA