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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of important ocular disorders that offends approximately 2% of world’s population. It is a disease that does not have casual symptoms and which leads to blindness, provided that it is not diagnosed and cured on time. The prevention of glaucoma is an issue of crucial importance.

Glaucoma is a serious, long-lasting, age progressing disease of the optical eye nerve and the optical fibers that leads to deformations of the optical nerve and alteration of the optical field. It is an insidious illness, since it does not have any symptoms (with the exception of certain types of glaucoma such as acid glaucoma) and by the time the first symptoms are shown, the damage is at an advanced stage and unfortunately non reversible. It is however, an illness which can be manageable under proper therapeutic treatment.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?

Glaucoma is usually presented after the age of 40. It is a hereditary illness by 20% and it more often presented if there is a family background of glaucoma. It is more often presented to people suffering from myopia, diabetes and to chronic users of cortisone.

The main cause of glaucoma is the imbalance between the production and the absorption of the aqueous liquid that is naturally produced in by the human eye.

This imbalance can cause increased intraocular tension, which on the long run can cause damage to the optical nerve. In certain types of glaucoma, it is likely that decreased blood pressure coexists; resulting in the malnutrition of the optical nerve. The reasons why low blood pressure occurs have to do with the cardiac and vassal system.

Eye tension is without doubt an important indicator of glaucoma; however it is not safe to be diagnosed only on that indicator. Forms of glaucoma exist that do not present any eye tension at all (glaucoma of casual or low tension) in which eye tension is not a danger factor to the eye. In order to be unquestionably diagnosed with glaucoma there must absolutely be a visible damage to the optical nerve and/or optical fibers.

If high eye tension is clinically found while the optical nerve or optical fiber and field are not damaged, then most probably the patient suffers of ocular hypertension and certainly not of glaucoma. Ocular hypertension is a situation which does not require treatment but close observation. It should be highlighted that one out of six or seven patients with ocular hypertension will eventually present glaucoma. Provided that the eye tension is higher than 27 mmHg or 28 mmHg, then the chances of developing glaucoma are extremely high and the diagnosis of it is conclusive, no matter what the pathological discoveries are.

CONSEQUENTLY INCREASED EYE TENSION DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN GLAUCOMA.

Types of glaucoma

  • Chronic open-angle closure glaucoma (most common)
  • High or Low tension glaucoma
  • Angle closure glaucoma (Chronic or Acute)
  • Secondary glaucoma (Inflammatory, traumatic, postsurgical, drug induced etc.)
  • Hereditary glaucoma (it is presented in early childhood).


PREVENTION

The best treatment for a chronic illness as glaucoma is, prevention. Today all people, particularly people belonging to susceptible groups of the population, should be submitted to ophthalmological examination at least once per year after the age of 35 years old.

By doing so, an early diagnosis could be achieved leading to the proper treatment eliminating the unpleasant consequences of glaucoma, which even today are unfortunately existing. “Screening” (pre-symptomatic check) is a fast, preventive and economical examination for glaucoma that can be applied to all population irrespectively of age or medical condition and that can identify possible suspects for glaucoma.

Individuals suffering of glaucoma can live a regular life, as long as they abide by the directions and the treatments that were suggested by their doctor, as well as to be regularly examined. Examination is the sole method by which a doctor can monitor the evolution of the condition and suggest the proper treatment.