Glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness in the world, after cataract, and it causes irreversible vision loss, in contrast to cataract which is reversible. The most frequent variants of the disease are open angle and angle-closure glaucoma, with open angle glaucoma being the most common in Latin America. The risk of blindness depends on various factors, including the level of intraocular pressure; direct family history of glaucoma; age at onset; the severity and rapidity of disease progression; and appropriate and timely treatment.1 Primary open angle glaucoma is a chronic and progressive disease, and thus we must ensure timely diagnosis by identifying individuals in the community with risk factors and undertaking examinations which either confirm or rule out the disease, while considering that mass population screening is not recommended. When a diagnosis is confirmed, ongoing periodic examinations and appropriate case management must be ensured in order to prevent vision loss.
The aim in creating this guide is to provide an overview of the current situation in Latin America with regard to glaucoma, the prevalence of which has increased in tandem with the life expectancy of the population, as well as to provide an orientation for the general ophthalmologist regarding its diagnosis and management.
The Guide outlines strategies and approaches proposed by WHO that provide practical, step-by-step support to Member States in the planning and implementation of integrated people-centred eye care (IPEC).