Glaucoma Awareness Week Celebration, March 12-18, 4 Interesting Facts About Glaucoma
Greetings to all and sundry,
Happy weekend to us all, I know we all love the weekend, it is said that all work and no play makes Jack and dull boy right? And so we ought to use the weekend to play, relax, have good quality time with loved ones and family, recuperate from the week's strenuous activities, etc.
Well, this week has been extra stressful for me though at work but I am glad I get to get this break, how are you though dear reader? I hope you had a good week and are looking forward to a refreshing weekend? Next week, @anaman would be getting married here in Ghana and as a groom's man I would have some work to do which means next week would also be quite stressful but I am looking forward to loads of fun.
Anyway, today I would be talking about a condition I have talked about time and again, and I am doing this in preparation for the World Glaucoma Week Celebration where eyecare practitioners use this opportunity to spread the news about glaucoma and by so doing help save sights along the way. And so today we are going to look at some interesting facts about Glaucoma. Are you Ready?
Before I go on to talk about these interesting things about glaucoma though, let's do a quick recap about what glaucoma is and what we may already know so far. So Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that is associated with a rise in intraocular pressure and death of optic nerve cells. The condition currently has the highest prevalence amongst the African population, and things seem to worsen as time passes.
The condition currently seems to be associated with some genetic factors which means that it may be hereditary, whether a specific allele may be involved as to whether we are looking at some form of dominant or recessive traits, is yet to be identified by researchers however from my experience as an optometrist, I believe that the genetic factors of the glaucoma condition may be recessive because it tends to skip generations sometimes.
Glaucoma is a sight-threatening condition nicknamed the silent thief of sight because it kills vision quietly. It is important that if you find yourself with this condition you have regular checks ups, please do not miss your appointments or your drug administration schedules and if you have kids or siblings who may not have had an eye examination yet, do well to send them for comprehensive eye exams, they may or may not have it, it is better safe than sorry.
- No Symptoms
The silent thief of sight comes at a cost and that cost is the fact that glaucoma doesn't give any symptoms whatsoever until it is almost too late. Yes, you will not experience any pain if you are losing your sight to glaucoma, you will not experience asthenopia or any other form of discomfort if you have glaucoma until the advanced stages when things are very very bad.
At that point will notice your peripheral vision is probably gone as you start to bump into things, you may notice some mild ocular pains and headaches because your eye pressure may be too high for your system to tolerate but then as I said, I would be too late to save your eyes then and so the best way to prevent this is to check your eyes as soon as possible.
- Glaucoma is not equal to Ocular Pressure
In the hospital, I get lots of patients coming in from different locations with the complaints that they got diagnosed with a pressure of the eye and so they have come to find a solution. Well, it is worth mentioning that, whiles glaucoma has a direct relation with the pressure of the eye going up, it is not always the case and it is not the only thing that an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist would use to diagnose a patient.
Your pressure could still be normal and you would still be losing your Optic nerve fibers from apoptosis of the cells which starts as a cascade system where one cell's death triggers the adjacent cells to also die, the process then continues until all are gone and vision is lost. This type of Glaucoma is known as low-tension glaucoma and can only be diagnosed if your eyes are checked at the nearest facility near you.
3: Glaucoma is not a blindness sentence
Over the years I have seen many patients with varying diagnoses and I have met old people diagnosed with glaucoma in their youth and still had good enough vision for their daily activities in their old age without having to rely on someone for aid. The fact that you are diagnosed with glaucoma doesn't mean you will go blind and so you should spend your time worrying.
Yes, Glaucoma has no cure as of now however it has a management protocol and if only you will take your doctor's review and appointments seriously and be fervent with your medications, you may not have to worry about blindness just ensure you are doing the best for yourself always and things should work out just fine.
- Trauma to the Eye can cause Glaucoma
Be mindful of the kind of games you play and be particular about protecting your eyes and your sight when you do sports. Certain damages to the eye could result in glaucoma and most often these instances are quite damaging such that vision loss is swift, within the shortest possible time.
The most common cause of blindness resulting from trauma is the subluxated lens which blocks the pathway of aqueous drainage. It is like clogging a pipe with a constant flow of water through it, the pressure build-up will be quick and most often enough to burst the pipe within the shortest possible time, just that in the case of the eye, the immediate build-up of pressure kills the optic nerve cells so quickly and within a short time that vision deteriorates and is lost within that time frame. Unfortunately, vision loss is irreversible.
And so protect your eyes and protect your sight, love your eyes, and get tested or screened for the possibility of glaucoma today, it is better safe than sorry, and while you may be safe and free, please do pay attention to your ocular health, protect your sight, do what is right, avoid hazardous sports and if it is really necessary, do not forget your protective gear.
When in doubt ask a professional, to speak to your doctor and he will be sure to answer all your questions, remember that we are here to serve you and not the other way around, do not be afraid of your doctor. You may also reach out to me on discord if you would want to talk about your glaucoma condition, I am on discord with the same username. It was a pleasure coming your way today, I wish you a blissful weekend, cheers!
Weinreb, R. N., Aung, T., & Medeiros, F. A. (2014). The pathophysiology and treatment of glaucoma: a review. JAMA, 311(18), 1901–1911. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3192.
Mohan, N., Chakrabarti, A., Nazm, N., Mehta, R., & Edward, D. P. (2022). Newer advances in the medical management of glaucoma. Indian journal of ophthalmology, 70(6), 1920–1930. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijo.IJO_2239_21.
Ng, J. K., & Lau, O. (2022). Traumatic Glaucoma. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing..
Esporcatte, B. L., & Tavares, I. M. (2016). Normal-tension glaucoma: an update. Arquivos brasileiros de oftalmologia, 79(4), 270–276. https://doi.org/10.5935/0004-2749.20160077.
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Glaucoma is more predominant in Africa and the fact that we do not take treatments as seriously as we should, makes it grow into a more serious problem before we pay attention to it, days like this are a good reminder for us to pay attention to our health and our eyes, most importantly.
A lot of times I meet people who would be coming in to the clinic for their first eyes checkup already having advanced or absolute glaucoma with one or both eyes gone or almost completely blind, it’s sad but we ought to do better about our eyes
And it's also a pleasure to have read from you today. we learned a lot about glaucoma thank you @nattybongo, best+!
Thank you too Sir
IOP is not part of the definition of European Glaucoma Society
It is a risk factor, but you can also have a low tension glaucoma.
Yeah, I did mention low tension glaucoma and the fact that is a neurodegenerative condition. Currently antiglaucoma drugs focuses on reducing the IOP though, is there perhaps new medicine that you would like to share with us please?