It is a complicated disease that causes gradual and progressive damage to the optic nerve, specifically the “cable” that transmits images to the brain. This ultimately leads to irreversible vision loss and even BLINDNESS when left untreated.
FACT: Glaucoma is the #1 cause of bilateral permanent blindness in the Philippines and at least half of them do not know they have the disease.
Elevated pressure in the eye (commonly known as the intraocular pressure or IOP) is generally, but not always, the main factor leading to Glaucoma or damage to the eye’s (optic) nerve.
Other factors such as previous eye trauma may also lead to glaucoma.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA?
Generally, NONE in the early stages.
But for Acute Angle Closure Type of Glaucoma, do watch out for:
5. Rainbow colored halos around lights
Example of a NORMAL visual field:
Example of a vision with PERIPHERAL DEFECTS:
WHO ARE AT RISK FOR GLAUCOMA?
***Glaucoma affects people of ALL AGES – even children!!! But in most cases:
1. AGE: Over 45
2. Family history of Glaucoma
3. High degree of Myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
4. Black/Asian descent
5. History of eye trauma, surgery
6. Steroid/Cortisone use
8. History of elevated intraocular pressure
Keep in mind that Glaucoma is not picky. It can afflict a person regardless of age, health, or race. Patients who are most likely to contract glaucoma usually have family history of the disease, high eye pressure, a previous eye injury, chronic steroid use and/or diabetes mellitus.
HOW IS GLAUCOMA DIAGNOSED?
An ophthalmologist or eye doctor can usually detect people who are at risk of having glaucoma. A series of test is needed to confirm if a person has glaucoma. All of these tests need to be repeated at intervals to assess the progress of the disease and the effect of the treatment – which sometimes takes years even.
Regular eye exams would still be the best thing to do; and if your vision is getting blurry or with eye pain, go see an ophthalmologist right away.
1. Tonometry – measures the eye pressure
2. Pachymetry – determines the thickness of the cornea
3. Gonioscopy – examines the drainage angle and drainage area of the eye
4. Ophthalmoscopy – optic nerve assessment
5. Visual Field Testing – measures an individual’s entire scope of vision – central and peripheral (side) vision.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR GLAUCOMA?
There is NO CURE for GLAUCOMA yet, and visual loss is irreversible. However, glaucoma is a disease that can generally be controlled when detected early – to prevent or slow-down further nerve damage and vision loss.
1. Eye drops
2. Laser treatment
3. Eye surgery
Remember, early detection is the key to limit visual impairment and preventing the progression towards visual loss or blindness.
Patients with glaucoma need to be aware that it is a lifelong disease. Compliance with scheduled visits to the eye doctor and with prescribed medication regimens offers the best chance for maintaining vision.
HOW MUCH DOES GLAUCOMA TREATMENTS COST?
- Eye surgery (operation) – around Php 4,000 to Php 8,000 (for charity cases). Not all glaucoma patients need surgery. Most patients are prescribed with eye-drops or laser treatment.
- Regular eye check up – Php 500 – Php 1,000 per patient for a comprehensive eye exam.
- Glaucoma Screening (batch of tests) – Php 6,000 – Php 10,000 but not all patients need to undergo this screening. Your eye doctor will tell you if you need this.
WORLDWIDE GOAL FOR GLAUCOMA:
“Don’t Let Glaucoma Darken Your Life”
1. Increase awareness
2. Early detection
3. Early treatment
4. Prevent BLINDNESS
5. Improve quality of life
(L-R) Dr. Norman Aquino (Past President of The Philippine Glaucoma Society) | Dr. Manolito Reyes (Immediate Past President of The Philippine Glaucoma Society) | Dra. Hannah Pia De Guzman | Dra. Ma. Zita Meriales | Dr. Mario V. Aquino (Founding President of PGS) | Dr. Rainier Covar | Dra. Imelda Yap-Veloso (Current President of PGS) | Dr. Jose Ma. Martinez (Current Vice-President of PGS) | Dr. Nilo Vincent FlorCruz
“To help address this critical situation, The Philippine Glaucoma Society, in partnership with multi-specialty health care company, Allergan, has organized glaucoma awareness activities during World Glaucoma Week. Both the Philippine Glaucoma Society and Allergan believe that blindness from the disease can still be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment.”
Vision of The Philippine Glaucoma Society:
“That no Filipino shall ever go blind from glaucoma”
GOOD NEWS FOR FILIPINOS: The Philippine Glaucoma Society will be hosting FREE GLAUCOMA SCREENING this WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK which runs from March 12-16, 2012. Hurry! Contact your local eye doctor today to know more about this!
WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK: Awareness, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatments for Glaucoma