January is the International Month of Glaucoma Detection

The ophthalmologist explains what the effects of glaucoma are and what we can do to prevent them.

January is very important in the ophthalmic community because ophthalmologists around the world are joining forces to raise awareness about glaucoma.

Glaucoma is disease that causes damage to optic nerve. The nerves begin to lose the ability to transmit eye-to-eye information, and the vision gradually becomes weaker. The field of view narrows and the view becomes blurred with spots. Glaucoma is often linked to increased intraocular pressure.

Glaucoma is the second cause of blindness worldwide, and in Romania there are approximately 140,000 cases of glaucoma diagnosed.

Types of glaucoma

Depending on the configuration of the angle between the iris and the cornea, there are two main types of glaucoma:

Open-angle primitive glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma  the most common type of glaucoma. Over 90% of patients with glaucoma have this form of disease. The angle between the iris and the cornea has a normal opening, but the aqueous humor drainage system is becoming less effective and the intraocular fluid is not evacuated as it should.

Primed angle glaucoma

Closed angle primitive glaucoma is less common than open-angle primitive glaucoma. It is determined by an anatomical predisposition of the eyeball and is characterized by blocking the angle between the iris and the cornea by the periphery of the iris, blocking the elimination of aqueous humor and increasing the intraocular pressure.

Risk factors for glaucoma

There are a number of factors that facilitate the onset of glaucoma. You are prone to this condition if:

1. You suffer from the following general conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension or hypotension
  • Cardiovascular or tidoid diseases

2. Have the following ocular disorders:

  • Myopia or high hypermetropia
  • History of retinal detachment
  • Inflammation or intraocular tumors

3. You have blood relatives who suffer from glaucoma

People who have relatives of first grade glaucoma are at a higher risk of having this condition compared to those who do not have a history of glaucoma in the family.

4. Your intraocular pressure is high

Intraocular hypertension is the main risk factor for glaucoma.

5. You are of an advanced age

“One of the most widespread erroneous information about glaucoma is that it occurs only in the elderly. This is not true: glaucoma can affect anyone, regardless of age. However, the risk of glaucoma increases as patients age, “says Dr. Cristina Ciucă, Ophthalmologist.

After the age of 40, the risk of glaucoma increases, so the ophthalmologist recommends a full ophthalmic consultation once a year. After the age of 60, the consultation should be done twice a year.

6. You have had an eye injury

Some injuries, injuries or eye injuries can lead to secondary traumatic glaucoma. Most patients who suffer such injuries are either practicing contact sports, or have had a domestic accident or an accident at work.

Traumatic glaucoma can occur immediately after the stroke or over a period of several years.

7. Use steroid-based medicines

There are studies that link the appearance of glaucoma to steroids. This varies depending on the duration of administration, the frequency and type of the medicine.

The ophthalmologist recommends that all who present one or more glaucoma risk factors should go to regular ophthalmic controls, regardless of their age and regardless of whether they are wearing eyeglasses or not.

Symptoms of glaucoma

Open-angle primitive glaucoma is asymptomatic in the initial stages, or may exhibit nonspecific symptoms that can be overlooked as effects of fatigue, so many patients remain undiagnosed until the disease reaches an advanced stage.

Closed-angle primitive glaucoma may be manifested by:

  • eye pain
  • severe headache
  • redness of eyes
  • diminution of visual acuity or blurred vision
  • photophobia (light sensitivity) or colored halores around light sources
  • nausea, vomiting.

Early diagnosis of glaucoma

Glaucoma is a often asymptomatic condition that causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve and vision. The only way to discover glaucoma at an early stage is to go to regular ophthalmic consultations.

A glaucoma screening consultation usually begins with a brief discussion that may include questions about the general health of the patient and his / her family, the medications the patient uses, and about hypertension, smoking, or exposure to the sun. Before conducting the tests, the physician will also want to find out the patient’s ophthalmologic history (date of last consultation, trauma or ocular disease, etc.)

Here are the most common tests the Ophthalmologist can perform in a consultation for glaucoma:

  • Tonometry (intraocular pressure measurement);
  • Ophthalmoscopy (eyeball examination, examining the optic nerve papillary);
  • Perimeter (visual field examination);
  • Gonioscopy (examining the angle formed between the anterior face of the iris and the posterior cornea where the aqueous humor drainage system is located);
  • Pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness).

As the case may be, the ophthalmologist may choose to perform only some of these tests, or may perform more complex tests.

Available treatments for glaucoma

Glaucoma can not be cured, so early prevention and diagnosis is the most effective way to fight this condition. However, once they have been diagnosed with glaucoma, patients require lifelong treatment to slow the process of vision degradation.

“Glaucoma treatments can not repair the damage already suffered by the optic nerve, but can help preserve vision from the start of treatment.Treatment indications vary from case to case, and some types of medication may prove ineffective for some patients, “ says Cristina Ciucă, Medic Oftalmolog Videt.

Here’s what kind of treatments the ophthalmologist can recommend:

  • Ophthalmic drops
  • Tablets
  • Laser procedures
  • Surgical Procedures

And you can help raise awareness about glaucoma through simple but effective actions. If you suffer from glaucoma, do not keep this secret, but share information about this disease with your family and friends. Encourage your knowledge to regularly go to an ophthalmologic control.

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