Understanding Glaucoma – A Comprehensive Guide
In an increasingly health-conscious world, understanding and dealing with eye conditions such as glaucoma is crucial.
At Best Practice Eyecare, our team led by the experienced ophthalmologist, Dr Karpa, is devoted to helping patients understand, manage, and treat various eye conditions including glaucoma. Let’s delve into a comprehensive understanding of Glaucoma and why it’s essential to recognise it early.
Glaucoma is a collective term for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, potentially leading to vision loss or blindness. It is known as the ‘sneak thief of sight’ as it often exhibits no symptoms until significant vision loss occurs.
Understanding glaucoma means understanding the role of intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure is created by the constant production and drainage of a fluid known as aqueous humour. If this drainage system becomes inefficient, the fluid build-up can lead to an increase in IOP, which can then damage the optic nerve.
There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common types seen in Australia include open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. According to Glaucoma Australia, glaucoma affects over 300,000 people nationwide, with up to 50% of cases remaining undiagnosed.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form, affecting approximately 90% of glaucoma patients in Australia. It is characterised by a slow clogging of the drainage canals, resulting in increased eye pressure. It develops slowly and is a lifelong condition.
On the other hand, angle-closure glaucoma, although uncommon, is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention. This type happens when the drain space between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow, leading to a sudden rise in intraocular pressure.
Regardless of the type, early detection of glaucoma is essential. A comprehensive eye examination can reveal early signs of glaucoma before symptoms start to appear. At Best Practice Eyecare, we use advanced diagnostic tools that allow for early detection and effective management of glaucoma.
Apart from regular eye checks, being aware of the risk factors can aid in early detection. Risk factors include age, family history, myopia, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes. If you fall into any of these categories, regular eye checks should be a part of your health routine.
When it comes to treatment, Glaucoma can’t be cured, but its progression may be slowed down or halted with appropriate intervention. The goal of any treatment is to reduce intraocular pressure, and damage to the cells of the optic nerve. This can be achieved through medication, laser treatment, or surgery.