Visual health research unit

juntaThe Foundation Ophthalmological del Valle – FOV is focused in carrying out research studies on Eye Health diseases in order to determine its prevalence, develop programs to promote and prevention, as well as direct intervention to treat the disease and identify new and potential alternatives to prevent and treat it properly, especially we are working on glaucoma since due to its characteristics of asymptomatic disease in developing countries as Colombia is estimated that 80% of patients with diagnosis of Glaucoma do not have knowledge of the disease. In addition, 90% – 100% of those who are blind, do not know the cause of your discapacidad1. The results of the Colombian Glaucoma study where it was evaluated 1590 patients, of which 980 are patients of the Valley of the Cauca2, concluded that the 76% of them patients diagnosed by Glaucoma not had knowledge of the disease.

It is estimated that worldwide 80 million people suffer from primary glaucoma. Recent studies indicate that of these, 33 million presented (GAA) open angle glaucoma and 17 million (GAC) close angle.

 The Colombian Glaucoma study2 estimated the prevalence of Glaucoma in 7.6% in people older than 40 years.  These figures are above the majority of epidemiological studies around the world where the prevalence of Glaucoma does not exceed 6%.

The Valle del Cauca, has a population of 1,200,000 inhabitants older than 40. According to the above it would be speaking of a population with a diagnosis of glaucoma between 80,000 to 90,000 individuals, where 75% do not know they have this disease; it is estimated that the difficulties to access to health services is 1.17% in its capital, the city of Santiago de Cali, and that of the total of the region the 37.5% are considered poor according to the DANE.

 Among the factors that hinder access to care services in visual health by the inhabitants of the Department of Valle del Cauca are: geographical barriers, the non-presence of professionals in ophthalmology or enabling this service in some municipalities, little offer of ophthalmologists subspecialists in glaucoma in the region, displacement by violence, as well as the lack of information in the community in general and staff care about the disease and associated risk factors, the above related to the ethnic, social, nutritional, cultural and demographic characteristics of the Department (Indians, Mestizos and Afro-descendant) allow to classify the population at high risk of suffering from glaucoma and not being diagnosed and treated in a timely manner ending with blindness.

What is more upsetting of this situation is that to the 37.5% of Valle del Cauca people are being classified as poor according to the DANE, and if they are not interfered, this population in timely prevention of early glaucoma and other diseases related with the vision, unfortunately will submit productivity labor losses by their  visual disability (most independent workers or by their  own) and accordingly they do destabilize their families and the social environment from the emotional, psychological and financial order, causing great social cost in the community. The above excluding the population being insured in the health system, has not the opportunity to attend a preventive and timely examination in an opportune manner for long periods of time because the people has to wait to be seen by a specialist in ophthalmology among other factors.

Therefore it is necessary to count with the support of the National and International Community with financial contributions that subsidize and assist these people for free, educating them, developing for prevention programmers and intervention of disease to improve their quality of life, since the resources provided by the Colombian State in visual health promotion and prevention programs are insufficient and there are thousands of Colombians who need this intervention to improve their quality of life and the of their families.


  • Quigley HA, Broman AT. The number of people with glaucoma worlwide in 201 and 2020. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006 Mar; 90 (3): 262-7

Estudio colombiano de Glaucoma; Carlos Rivera MD Oft. Andrés Castillo Biol. Ph, Fabián Méndez MD Ph.D Universidad del Valle. Estudio financiado por Tecnoquimicas y desarrollado por Univalle Escuela de Salud Publica.  Febrero 2014

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