WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?

Glaucoma is generally known as increased intraocular pressure. Glaucoma is actually a much more complex disease in which progressive destruction of the optic nerve fibres is observed. This progressive destruction of the optic nerve fibres is insidious and asymptomatic. If not diagnosed early and treated properly, it may cause a progressive loss of vision that is irreversible.

WEST EYE HOSPITAL doctors can determine whether or not the patient has glaucoma with the latest medical investigation equipment (visual field, corneal pachymetry, HRT, OCT).

There are two main mechanisms which may lead to glaucoma, each with different treatment:

  • Open-angle (by far, the most common)
  • Narrow angle.

There are factors that increase the risk of glaucoma, such as:

  • Patients with a family history of glaucoma;
  • High myopia;
  • Migraine;
  • Ocular trauma;
  • Racial factor;
  • Prolonged treatment with cortisone.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA?

Patients with certain types of glaucoma complain of:

  • Severe headaches;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Coloured halos around light sources;

CAUTION:
It is particularly important to know that the vast majority of glaucoma patients are asymptomatic. Therefore, to detect the disease, eye exams should be done at regular intervals (every year).

HOW TO DIAGNOSE GLAUCOMA?

High intraocular pressure is not sufficient to make the diagnosis of glaucoma. This increased eye pressure requires completion of examination with: measurement of visual acuity (VA), visual field (VF), analysis of the optic nerve head and analysis of retinal nerve fibre layer thickness. These tests should be repeated, on the one hand to establish the diagnosis, but also to accurately track the evolution of glaucoma.

The absolutely necessary investigations are:

  • Automated perimetry;
  • HRT;
  • OCT;
    • Pachymetry

HOW TO TREAT GLAUCOMA?

There are 3 types of treatment for glaucoma:

  • Medical treatment: The medical treatment consists mainly in the administrations of drops into the conjunctival sac throughout life. These drops reduce intraocular pressure through different mechanisms. If a type of drops no longer lower intraocular pressure, the doctor will add a second type of drops, and if they have no effect either, a third type of drops is added and another method of treatment is adopted.
  • Laser therapy: The laser treatment is recomended to patients who do not respond to medical treatment. It is an effective method if the treatment is not applied too late.
  • Surgical treatment: Surgical treatment is done when the other 2 types of treatment have failed and aims to reduce intraocular pressure. The surgery does not result in improving vision. It only manages to lower intraocular pressure. Even after surgery, the patient must remain under the control of the ophthalmologist for life, and sometimes it is necessary that treatment be resumed with antiglaucomatous drops.

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