Glaucoma is a severe progressive disease characterized by increased intraocular pressure. Lack of timely proper treatment can lead to optic atrophy and complete blindness. The most important thing for this disease is an early diagnosis. The danger also lies in the fact that glaucoma proceeds unnoticed. Therefore, periodic health examinations of an ophthalmologist are required at least 1 time per year (especially after 40 years).
In our clinic, a full diagnostic examination for glaucoma is carried out, and after that, the treatment algorithm necessary for you is prescribed.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a chronic progressive eye disease characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure, damage to the optic nerve and an irreversible decrease in vision, up to blindness.
Despite progress in treatment methods, glaucoma remains one of the main causes of decreased vision and irreversible blindness.
Glaucoma is a latent disease! Most patients do not know about the disease until their vision deteriorates. It makes glaucoma a rather dangerous and insidious disease because the patient begins to notice a narrowing of the visual fields only when the disease is already in advanced stages and it is no longer possible to restore vision.
Some patients feel:
- blurred vision, the appearance of a “grid” in front of the eyes;
- the presence of “rainbow circles” when looking at a light source;
- discomfort in the eye, a feeling of heaviness and tension;
- slight pain in the eye;
- feeling of hydration of the eye;
- decreased ability to see at dusk;
- slight pain around the eyes.
Glaucoma risk factors:
- Age over 40 years.
- The presence of glaucoma in close relatives.
- The presence of concomitant diseases of the cardiovascular system: arterial hypertension and hypotension, vegetative-vascular dystonia, migraine; sugar disease, etc.
- Long-term use of glucocorticoids.
It is known that fluid continuously forms in the eye, which then flows out through the special drainage system of the eye. But if the outflow is disturbed, the fluid will accumulate and the intraocular pressure rises. With an increase in intraocular pressure, damage to the optic nerve occurs, which leads to persistent visual impairment.
Glaucoma is diagnosed with the following data:
- characteristic of the fundus (changes in the optic disc);
- increased intraocular pressure;
- narrowing of the visual field.
There are several ways to measure intraocular pressure. With an increase in IOP over 23 mmHg, there is a suspicion of glaucoma and a full examination is required.
Optic Disc Changes
Characteristic of the fundus is an important symptom of glaucoma. The severity of these changes indicates the stage of the disease and the prognosis of vision.
What is a narrowing of the visual field?
Narrowing of the visual field (loss of lateral vision) occurs mainly from the nasal side, in the future, the narrowing of the visual field concentrically covers the peripheral parts until it is completely lost, i.e. blindness. These symptoms appear against the background of a persistent increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). A decrement in visual acuity already indicates a severe, advanced stage of the disease, accompanied by almost complete atrophy of the optic nerve.
To date, there are no methods to restore lost vision functions or restore vision to those blind from glaucoma. But we can say with confidence that it is possible and necessary to prevent vision loss and blindness. For the prevention of glaucoma, periodical examinations by an ophthalmologist are necessary, this is especially important after the age of 40. However, to identify the onset of the disease, a simple measurement of intraocular pressure is clearly not enough. It is necessary to study in detail the fundus and the optic disk, as well as conduct a study of the visual field, for this the doctor needs not only knowledge but also modern equipment. This allows identifying those initial manifestations that occur before the earliest changes in the visual field.
Thus, only an ophthalmologist, on the basis of many factors, can assess the risk of developing glaucoma and choose the best way to prevent the progression of the disease.
Glaucoma treatment consists of therapeutic, surgical, laser and combined methods. In our clinic, a full examination for glaucoma is first carried out, and only after that, the treatment algorithm necessary for a particular patient is prescribed. The most important thing for this disease is an early diagnosis.
Drug treatment is carried out in two main directions:
- ocular hypotensive therapy – currently there is a wide arsenal of drugs used to reduce the level of intraocular pressure, different in composition, mechanisms of action and indications. Their trial is carried out individually. With glaucoma, drops are applied constantly!
- therapy that improves blood circulation in the inner membranes of the eye and optic nerve.
With the ineffectiveness of drug therapy, the issue of surgical treatment is being resolved. A distinction is made between laser and “knife” anti-glaucoma operation.
Laser interventions are safe, can be performed on an outpatient basis, but with chronic glaucoma, such interventions do not always have a stable hypotensive effect. In some cases, normalization of IOP can only be achieved using surgical methods. Today, many different types of anti-glaucoma surgeries are used, among which the most common are filtering operations, which allow creating new ways of outflow of aqueous humor from the eye.
With timely and proper use, all existing methods of treatment work well and provide patients with preservation of visual functions for years and decades, but do not relieve glaucoma – dystrophic processes continue!
Therefore, patients with glaucoma should be constantly controlled by an ophthalmologist!
Tips for glaucoma patients
The main recommendations for the timely diagnosis of glaucoma:
- Starting from the age of 40, everyone needs to be examined by an ophthalmologist once every 1-2 years even in the absence of any complaints from the visual organ (checking intraocular pressure, examining the fundus and checking the visual fields).
- People who have risk factors for glaucoma should be examined annually.
- Always contact an ophthalmologist immediately if vision impairment or other changes in the eyes occur.
Tips for glaucoma patients:
- If you already have glaucoma, then your relatives should be examined regularly by an ophthalmologist.
- With glaucoma, the use of drugs is carried out continuously throughout the patient’s life! Unauthorized cessation of treatment will lead to irreversible visual impairment.
- Examinations by an ophthalmologist – once in 3-6 months.
- You can lead a normal lifestyle, regular physical activity, proper rest and sleep, walks in the fresh air are important.
- You can read, but in bright light and every hour to take a break of 10-15 minutes. You should watch TV also in a good light.
- Night shifts, overtime, work in the hot shop and in vibration conditions are undesirable.
- You can not be in an inclined position and with a bent neck for a long time.
- In the summer, in the bright sun, it’s necessary to wear green glasses produced by the medical industry for patients with glaucoma.
- Smoking cessation!
- Exclude saunas, hot baths.
- The diet should preferably be dairy, rich in vitamins and micronutrients.