What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma, also known as glaucoma, is a common eye disease that affects millions of people. Glaucoma, which sometimes occurs in infancy and childhood, often over the age of 40, usually progresses slowly over years. If left untreated, it can cause blindness. In glaucoma, the fluid pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure for short, is high enough to damage the optic nerve, which is necessary for vision.

What causes glaucoma?

Normally, a fluid is constantly made in the eye to feed the intraocular formations, and this intraocular fluid is also constantly thrown out of the eye through some channels. Glaucoma occurs as a result of insufficient drainage of the fluid due to the formation of structural obstruction in the channels that drain the intraocular fluid, and the resulting increase in intraocular pressure. When the intraocular fluid cannot be removed from the eye, the eye pressure rises and causes nerve death by damaging the optic nerves. Permanent vision loss occurs when the optic nerve cells die.

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What are the types of glaucoma?

There are several types of glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. The channels that drain the eye fluid become clogged with age and the eye pressure gradually rises. The duct is not blocked in every aging patient. Genetic factors are also effective here. At the beginning of the disease, there are no symptoms of the disease. As the disease progresses, it affects the optic nerve. The optic nerve is like an electrical cable containing many fibers. These fibers transmit images from different areas in the retina layer to the brain. As the nerve is damaged, the visual field deteriorates. Glaucoma can be noticed by many patients only in the advanced stage and when significant visual loss occurs. It is not possible to reverse or improve vision loss in glaucoma. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important. Abnormal intraocular pressure detected during routine eye examination may be the first sign of the disease. Regular examinations by an ophthalmologist are the best way to diagnose and treat glaucoma early.

Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the eye pressure is suddenly too high if the duct through which the eye fluid leaves the eye is completely blocked. The patient notices this immediately. Because it is very painful. Nausea and vomiting may occur due to pain. He sees rainbow-like colors around lights and his vision is reduced. An ophthalmologist should be consulted when these symptoms occur. Otherwise, blindness is inevitable.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Glaucoma is diagnosed with a careful eye examination. In the diagnostic eye examination, the doctor:

  • It measures your intraocular pressure with an instrument called a tonometer.
  • It examines your optic nerves by performing optic nerve examination. If possible, a photo of the optic nerve is taken.
  • If necessary, performs a visual field test to determine whether there is a loss in your visual field. A person diagnosed with glaucoma should have their visual field taken every 4 months, depending on the doctor’s recommendation. In this way, it can be understood whether the treatment is effective or not.

Glaucoma can happen to anyone. The only way to prevent vision loss due to glaucoma is early diagnosis. For this reason, it is important to have eye examinations at regular intervals.

Who is Prone to Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that is seen in millions of people around the world and can occur in any person. However, some risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing the disease.

Anyone after the age of 35 can have glaucoma. However, the risk is higher in those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, hyperopia and myopia. For this reason, eye examination of everyone at the age of 35 and later at the age of 40; those with risk should be checked once a year.

Can glaucoma be cured?

Once diagnosed, glaucoma cannot be completely cured and eliminated; however, in many cases, it can be successfully kept under control with appropriate treatment and the progression of vision loss can be prevented.

If you have glaucoma, the treatment and follow-up of the disease will continue for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is very important that you follow your eye doctor’s monitoring program regularly and that you follow the recommended treatment carefully.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

Typically, glaucoma is primarily treated with a variety of medications that lower intraocular pressure. These medications are usually in the form of eye drops. If necessary, surgical and laser interventions can also be applied.

How Often Should Eye Drops Be Used?

It is mandatory to use eye drops every day. Depending on the type of drug therapy recommended, you may instill the eye drops or drops once or several times a day. The important thing is to always follow your doctor’s instructions.

Will I Always Use the Same Drops?

Because glaucoma is a progressive disease, your eye doctor may have to change your eye drops or add other eye drops to your treatment. The first reason for making these changes is to keep the intraocular pressure under control and to protect your visual field. In addition, the possible side effects of the drops you use may require these changes.

Some factors that may cause eye drops to be changed during glaucoma treatment include:

Efficacy – Do the eye drops adequately control intraocular pressure?

Medical side effects – Do you have any other illness that the eye drops could affect negatively?

Side effects affecting your lifestyle – Do the eye drops interfere with your daily life? Some eye drops may make it difficult to see at night or cause a headache. If you experience side effects that limit your daily life, you should consult your doctor.

What You Need To Do

  • Use your medicine as recommended by your doctor! Take your medicine at the same time every day! This way you can remember your eye drops more easily.
  • Consult your doctor about any side effects that affect your daily life!
  • Follow your doctor’s scheduled control appointments! Your disease can only be successfully treated when you are under the regular control of your doctor.
  • Warn your eye doctor about the drugs you take for your other diseases! When you see a doctor other than your eye doctor, make sure he or she knows you are being treated for glaucoma!
  • Warn all members of your family to have regular eye examinations as glaucoma can be hereditary!
  • Perform periodic visual field examinations upon the recommendation of your doctor.

REMEMBER: The role of the patient is very important in the treatment of glaucoma. Since glaucoma is a chronic disease, treatment lasts a lifetime and requires determination. It is this determination that will preserve the precious eyesight.

prof. Dr. Nusret Ozdemir


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