What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma (POAG) is a silent disease where the optic nerve gets damaged slowly resulting in loss of field of vision over a period of time. It may or may not be associated with high ocular pressure. It has a strong social & economic impact on the performance of an individual.
In India the awareness regarding glaucoma is very poor. The common people know swine flu better than glaucoma. In Bengali there is no corresponding term for glaucoma. We have to make more people aware of the diseases through various audio visual and interactive mediums.
Policy Making Organization:
Awareness should also increase among policy making organization regarding Infrastructures, Man Power, Equipments & Cost of the TX, including glaucoma drugs, some of which are beyond the purchasing power of common people.
Who is likely to get glaucoma?
One of the leading causes of blindness in India, about 3 percent of the general population have some form of glaucoma.
- Persons over the age of 40 are more likely to develop glaucoma. However, the disease may occur in people of all ages including newborns.
- Persons with myopia, diabetes, systemic hypertension and family history of glaucoma have an increased risk.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
In most cases of glaucoma, the patient is not aware of the gradual loss of sight until vision is significantly impaired.
However, if glaucoma progresses without adequate treatment, the following symptoms may occur in some individuals:
- Pain around the eyes when coming out from darkness (e.g., as soon as the person comes out of a cinema hall)
- Coloured halo rings seen around light bulbs especially in the mornings and nights
- Frequent change of reading glasses, headaches, pain and redness of the eyes
- Reduced vision in dim illumination and during nights
- Gradual decrease of side vision with progression of glaucoma
- Blurring of vision
How is glaucoma detected?
A simple test with a device called the tonometer measures pressure within the eye. This test alone cannot detect all glaucomas. The back of the eye should be inspected to view the optic nerve after dilating the pupils. Side vision may also be examined by a computer-assisted, simple test called perimetry (visual field examination).
How is glaucoma treated?
The loss of vision due to glaucoma is irreversible. However, appropriate treatment and regular follow-up can preserve residual vision.
Earlier the diagnosis, better the chances of arresting visual impairment.
For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure. However, in some, drugs may stop working after a period of time. In these situations, the ophthalmologist can help by adding or changing medications or by choosing another type of treatment: laser or surgical methods. Periodical eye examinations are therefore essential to ensure that the medications are working.
In some type of glaucoma, called angle closure glaucoma, laser treatment is the primary form of reducing the eye pressure. This is a simple out-patient procedure, which uses a strong beam of light to relieve the fluid pressure.
In open angle type glaucoma, laser treatment is applied only if various medications fail to control the fluid pressure. Medications need to be continued regularly even after laser treatment. Laser treatment has very minimal complications, but its effect in reducing the eye pressure may wear off over time.
In some persons with glaucoma, medical or laser treatment is insufficient to arrest glaucoma and surgery is indicated. But this treatment option has its risks and limitations and is reserved as the treatment of last resort. Even after surgical treatment, individuals with glaucoma should continue periodical check-ups by an ophthalmologist and additional medications may be required indefinitely to control eye pressures.
Glaucoma Clinic in Debipur Netralaya:-
We have state of the art glaucoma clinic modern facilities and experienced glaucoma specialities. Which includes:
- Slit lamp bio-microscopy.
- All types of Lenses (Ex. 78D; 90D; PRP Lens; Goldmann – 3 mirror, 2 mirror)
For better visualization.
Humphrey Visual Field Test:
A visual field test measures how much ‘SIDE’ vision you have. It is a straight forward test, Painless & does not involve eye drops. Essentially lights are flashed on, and you have to press a button whenever you see the light. Your head is kept still. You have to rest your chin. The lights are bright or dim at different stages of the test. Some of the flashes are purely to check if you are concentrating or not.
Each eye is tested separately and you should allow 15 to 45 minutes to have the whole test.
It is done if your (Ophthalmologist) thinks you should be cheeked for glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause Blindness by damaging the optic nerve. If you have glaucoma, goniscopy can help your doctor see where type of glaucoma you have. It is a painless examination to see whether the area from where fluid drains out of your eyes is open or closed.
Creating a small opening at the peripheral iris (usually between middle and peripheral thirds of the iris) using Neodymium: YAG and / or Argon laser. To prevent gentle glaucoma & subsequent blindness (Acute Congestive Glaucoma).
It can be performed as an alternative when the Cornea is too hazy for goniscopic viewing and hence goniotomy becomes impossible. A fine probe (trabeculotome) is passed into the anterior chamber, thus breaking the abnormal mesodermal tissue at the angle.
Debipur Netralaya regularly arranges peripheral outpost camps where patients are carefully careened for glaucoma along with cataracts. Glaucoma suspected cases are referred to the primary hospital for glaucoma check up. We also distribute leaflets among villagers, where particulars of the disease are written in simple local language.