Glaucoma is a condition that leads to the gradual deterioration of the optic nerve fibres and loss of vision. There are many causes involved in the development of this disease, which leads to blindness without prompt and effective treatment. The most important factor is high intraocular pressure. Other risk factors include impaired blood flow to the optic nerve, which can be caused by spasms in the ciliary arteries (occasional constrictions followed by impaired blood flow), low blood pressure, diabetes, higher levels of myopia, and a family history of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a serious sight-threatening condition that does not cause pain or other symptoms. However, as it progresses, irreversible changes in visual function occur. Therefore, early diagnosis of glaucoma is essential, and preventive eye tests should be conducted before the age of 40, or earlier for individuals with a positive family history.
The disease cannot be completely cured; the aim of treatment is to reduce intraocular pressure to levels that prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Treatment usually begins with the use of eye drops. When the recommended regimen is followed, progression of the disease can be halted in most cases. If this treatment is not effective enough, laser therapy or eye surgery may be considered. One common microsurgical procedure is trabeculectomy, which reduces intraocular pressure by filtering intraocular fluid into the subconjunctival space using a filtering bleb.
Untreated, the disease leads to the gradual death of nerve cells and fibres in the optic nerve. Initially, it manifests as gaps in the visual field, and as it progresses, leads to severe visual impairment and eventually blindness.
People with high levels of myopia, diabetes, low blood pressure and people suffering from migraines or cold extremities are more likely to develop the disease. Stress and long-term corticosteroid treatment are also significant risk factors.
We provide this comprehensive preventive screening at the My Clinic Ophthalmology Clinic. In addition to near and distance vision, with a recommendation for the best prescription for you for both, we also check your ability to perceive colours accurately. In addition, we measure your intraocular pressure (elevated intraocular pressure is the primary risk factor for the development of glaucoma). We examine the anterior segment of the eye (eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea, anterior chamber of the eye, iris, pupil, lens) using a slit lamp. We use special lenses to examine the chamber angle (the point of contact between the posterior surface of the cornea and the anterior surface of the iris), to determine the type of glaucoma – open-angle or closed-angle – and is important for selecting the appropriate treatment approach. We also examine the posterior segment of the eye (vitreous, optic nerve head, macula – the central region of the retina responsible for sharp vision, both the central and peripheral areas of the retina, and the retinal blood vessels – the only vessels in the body that can be examined with the naked eye, i.e. non-invasively). If anything is found that deviates from the physiological norm, we take photo-documentation of the anterior and/or posterior segment of the eye.
The intraocular pressure reading may be falsely affected by the thickness of the cornea, which can be measured using pachymetry. Once this is taken into account, an accurate value can be determined for your intraocular pressure. A perimeter is an instrument used to examine the visual field to detect areas of depressed vision (scotomas) typical of glaucoma. By analysing the layer of retinal nerve fibre and ganglion cells, early glaucomatous changes can be detected even before depressions develop in the visual field, using OCT (optical coherence tomography). It also plays an indispensable role in monitoring potential worsening of the condition, which serves as a signal to strengthen antiglaucoma treatment.
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