Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma includes a group of eye disorders with a common characteristic : the progressive damage of the fibres which make up the optic nerve, associated in most cases with an increase in eye pressure. It is estimated that it occurs in 2 or 3 % of the population of Spain, increasing in frequency depending on the age of the person and is a very common cause of blindness in the world although it is avoidable.

The main problem lies in detecting it since a person who has it doesn’t usually notice anything amiss because central vision is maintained all the time. What is decreasing though is the field of vision so that, in the final stages, the person suffering from it has tunnel vision. If the problem continues and the person is still not aware of their illness, blindness will occur due to atrophy of the optic nerve.We know that this is in charge of transmitting a nervous stimulous so it would be as if an electric cable had been cut .

Types of Glaucoma.

There are various types: Open angle or Closed angle glaucoma, Normotensivo glaucoma and Congenital glaucoma. We are going to refer to the most commonly found one in this article. 90% of cases which we diagnose in our daily consultations are Open angle glaucoma.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Unfortunately, in most cases, there are no symptoms so it can only be detected when the patient visits his ophthalmologist. Only in cases of acute glaucoma will the patient feel an intense piercing pain which can be accompanied by blurred vision, feeling nauseous or vomiting.

Who is most at risk of suffering from Glaucoma?

People with a family history of glaucoma , people older than 40, black races, diabetics, the shortsighted, or patients on long term cortisone treatment, either in eyedrop form or in other forms of cortisone medication, which circulate in the bloodstream.

How is Glaucoma diagnosed?

The patient who visits his ophthalmologist will undergo a series of simple, painless examinations with no risk to them such as: An eye pressure test, back of the eye inspection, gonioscope, visual field and the latest method, OCT, which examines the different layers of the retina.
Diagnosis of glaucoma is now possible and treatment, if necessary, will be prescribed. It must be pointed out that just taking eye pressure is only a preliminary screening because, people with more than 21mm Hg ( higher than normal ) could, in fact, not have glaucoma and those people with less than 21mm Hg could, in fact, have it. That is why the pressure test cannot really be conclusive. Only an exhaustive study by your ophthalmologist will detect it and prescribe specific treatment.

Can Glaucoma be prevented?

Yes it can,everyone over 40 years old must have periodic eye revisions. The ophthalmologist will take your eye pressure, explore the back of your eye, and carry out tests which he considers most pertinant to your case, even more so if there is a family history of it or if you are a person included in the high risk list.

What is the treatment?

The best treatment is prevention with strict control over glucose as well as other associated factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In cases of lesions in the retina, depending on the damage and where it is, treatment will usually begin with a photocoagulating laser attached to the slit lamp and be carried out in the consultant’s clinic.

Laser surgery means the application of a brilliant ray of light focussed through the pupil onto the damaged areas of the retina, though not onto the area known as the macula, in order to prevent greater loss of sight. This process is known as panphotocoagulation.

If the damage is more severe, other more sophisticated treatments could be necessary such as vitrectomia or the injection of specific substances , for example Anti VEGE, into the eye. These applications are carried out in the operating theatre.

Experience and dedication...

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