New Delhi (India), May 25: Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht, a Triathlete, Ironman 70.3, and Marathoner (Sub4), has initiated a first-of-its-kind Global Inclusivity Run by the visually impaired for awareness of glaucoma. The first two phases of this Global Initiative have already been conducted since April. The Global Run for Glaucoma Awareness is a first-of-its-kind Joint Platform and Global Initiative for visually impaired and glaucoma awareness. In the first edition of this global event, 30 visually impaired from each of the 170 countries will run together with Guide Runners on a pre-decided day or during the World Glaucoma Week (March 6 – 12)/ on the World Sight Day (October 13), intending to reduce glaucoma-induced blindness cases through awareness. There will be no charges to participate in this Global Initiative for visually impaired runners and Guide Runners as some of the leading organizations globally are sponsoring the initiative. All the participants are currently practicing and getting trials with Guide Runners under Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht’s guidance. As a rule, Guide Runners could be non-runners family/ friends too.
Talking about this Global Initiative, Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht, the organizer of the Global Initiative and the Founder of the Centre for Financial Informatics and Literacy (CFIL – cfil.in), shares, “Glaucoma prevention and treatment have long been at the focus of international directives, including the WHO’s Vision 2020 campaign. In fact, there are approximately 11.2 million persons aged 40 years and older with Glaucoma in India. However, glaucoma is difficult to diagnose in any context, making it more important to be aware of it. Through this Global Initiative, I want to give the visually impaired the gift of confidence and make people aware of glaucoma all at once.”
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment worldwide. According to a study published in BMC Opthalmology, about 15% of global blindness is due to glaucoma, and around 600,000 people go blind annually. As a matter of fact, many people do not even know they have glaucoma until it’s too late. Therefore, early detection of glaucoma plays a crucial role in its effective management and prevention of blindness. However, lack of awareness about glaucoma is a primary reason for its late detection, significantly increasing the risk of blindness. Looking at this scenario, Mr. Sukhdeep Singh Aasht is organizing the Global Glaucoma Awareness Initiative in his individual capacity. He is an athlete and founder of several Fit Groups, including IIM Kozhikode Fit Group, who has conceptualized this global platform to spread a positive message.
Naturally, some people carry more risk of developing glaucoma and glaucoma-related visual impairment. Globally, African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage people are more prone to glaucoma. Moreover, those over 40 years old who have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, or other health problems need to be careful about this condition. In the view of the global coronavirus pandemic, the widespread usage of long-term steroid medications has further increased the risk of glaucoma development among Covid19 patients. Therefore, raising public awareness and knowledge of glaucoma is a crucial aspect of addressing the overwhelming consequences of the disease.
The Global Glaucoma Awareness Initiative will play a vital role in promoting inclusivity among the visually impaired and diffuse a global impact all at once.