Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve is damaged in a characteristic pattern, damaging vision permanently in the affected eye(s) and leading to blindness if left untreated. It is normally associated with increased intraocular pressure in the eye.
Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide. We participate in public institutional campaigns to inform and sensitize the population on the importance of glaucoma and its early diagnosis.
Present glaucoma treatment is based on lowering intraocular pressure to halt optic nerve damage. There is no treatment that can recover existent lesions, so the goal of the treatment is to stop progression.
Most of the patients are adequately controlled by the use of eye drops that lower intraocular pressure. In some cases intraocular pressure can be further lowered by selective laser treatments.
Surgical techniques can be used in cases where medical treatment is not effective. There are several techniques which opens a “window” to allow fluid to flow out of the eye through this opening, resulting in a lowering of the intraocular pressure.
In case of failure of these filtering surgeries a special drainage valve can also be implanted.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS CRUCIAL
The majority of patients affected by glaucoma won’t experience any symptom in the early stages of the illness. When they first notice some visual disturbance the optic nerve is usually extensively damaged and the loss of vision and visual field are irrecoverable.
Early diagnostic and treatment can prevent irreversible optic nerve damage and avoid progression of the glaucoma. It is crucial to perform periodical visits to detect the early changes of glaucoma in patients 40 or older, specially if there are risk factors as is a positive family history, high myopia, diabetes or other ocular diseases.
Tonometry or measuring the intraocular pressure is the first diagnostic method. This basic measurement has to be complemented with methods to diagnose the status of the optic nerve:
Computerized Visual Field testing can detect the characteristic pattern of visual loss presenting in glaucoma patients.
Optic Coherence Tomography (OCT) measures the thickness of the nerve fiber layer and the ganglion cell layer of the retina giving direct information on the degree of damage in these fundamental structures of the eye.
We routinely perform diagnostic examinations to all of our patients to guaranty that no glaucoma will go undiagnosed. These chronic pathologies require long term treatments, and it is fundamental a good patient-doctor communication.
Instituto de Oftalmologia Castanera
Via Augusta 20-22, 2
Tel. 932 173 704
Fax 934 155 125 [email protected]
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