World Glaucoma Week was launched in 2010 by the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) to raise awareness of the consequences of reduced vision as a result of glaucoma and its impact on patients’ daily lives.
Glaucoma is a common cause of eye disease, being the second leading cause of blindness worldwide after cataracts. The incidence of glaucoma in Greece is estimated at around 2% of the population, a percentage that increases in the elderly. An important fact is that a large proportion of patients are unaware that they have glaucoma.
On the occasion of this year’s World Glaucoma Week (March 12-18), Mr Konstantinos PapadopoulosMD, FEBO Ophthalmologist von general metropolitan
informs about risk factors, diagnosis and treatment of this “insidious” enemy of vision:
“Glaucoma includes a group of eye diseases characterized by a specific type of damage to the optic nerve, while in most cases there is increased intraocular pressure.
Typical glaucomatous damage is characterized by loss of peripheral vision. In combination with the slow progression of the disease and the absence of pain, the patient does not have any easily perceptible symptoms except in advanced stages of the disease, which makes the need for preventive examinations, especially in people at risk, imperative.
There are several types of glaucoma that affect all age groups, including congenital glaucoma (congenital glaucoma), with chronic simple open-angle glaucoma being the most common.
Although glaucoma damage is irreversible, appropriate treatment can prevent further worsening of glaucoma.”
“Although elevated intraocular pressure has been considered by the general public to be synonymous with the term glaucoma, the reality is that intraocular pressure is one of the most important and most easily measurable risk factors for the occurrence of glaucomatous lesions. However, it would be good to remember that glaucoma can also occur in people with normal intraocular pressure, while a person with hyperocular pressure may not necessarily have glaucoma but ocular hypertension,” emphasizes Mr. Papadopoulos, adding:
“Other risk factors include a family history of glaucoma, age, cortisone medication, myopia, a history of eye injury, and a thin cornea.”
The best way to diagnose glaucoma early is with regular eye exams. Persons over 40 should be examined every two years at the latest, and persons with a risk factor should be examined annually. The eye exam to diagnose glaucoma includes:
“The damage to the optic nerve caused by glaucoma is not corrected. But with the right treatment, we can prevent them before they become established. Glaucoma treatment aims to protect the optic nerve by improving its blood supply and reducing intraocular pressure,” emphasizes Mr. Papadopoulos.
“Public information and awareness about glaucoma and regular eye exams are the best prevention against glaucoma, a serious and silent disease that can lead to blindness if left untreated,” the expert concludes.