Glaucoma is a degenerative or progressive disease that damages the optic nerve of the eye. The optic nerve connects to the retina and is formed by many nerve fibers, like an electric cable is composed of many cables.
The optic nerve sends signals from the retina to the brain where these signals are interpreted as the images we see.
In the vast majority, glaucoma is associated with high intraocular pressure. Intraocular pressure normal values are between 10 and 21 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg); Glaucoma is characterized by increased IOP above normal values. Sometimes you can find ocular hypertension at the time of the consultation, and sometimes it is normal that this tension may be elevated in other times of the day.
In cases where there are signs of glaucoma in the absence of ocular hypertension, it is very important to daily monitoring ocular pressure fluctuations in search of the same, by a pressure curve daily. There is also the Normal tension glaucoma. And age is not a determining factor.
Glaucoma is a public health problem and is currently the second leading cause of blindness in the world: an estimated 7,000 million people suffer from glaucoma. In Costa Rica, about 200,000 “Ticos” have the disease and 90% out of these, do not even know they do have this problem.
Primary open angle glaucoma is a disease in which the main known risk factors / indicators are age and increased intraocular pressure. There are also other risk factors that may contribute:
- Having elevated IOP
- Being older than 40 years
- Family history of glaucoma
- Black Race
- Family history of narrow angle
- Age 40
- Female Gender
- Asian or Eskimo Person
- Contralateral eye attack
- Aggravating factors such as cataract
Practical advice for patients with glaucoma
- Do not forget to apply your drops every day.
- Do not stop treatment when you attend with your doctor.
- If you use more than one dropper bottle, remember to leave 10 to 15 minutes between drops.
- Occlude the lachrymal punctual in order to reduce the systemic effects of the drug. You can do this by closing your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes or placing your index finger on the punctum.
- Use medications as directed by your ophthalmologist. Do not let them change the product in the pharmacy, or the dose or frequency. Increasing the number of drops applied only increases the undesirable effects.
- In case of discomfort immediately consult your doctor, but do not stop treatment.
- Avoid self-medication and alternative medicine. Remember that many commonly used drugs are contraindicated in glaucoma.
- Your drugs are part of their daily routine (brushing, meals, time to wake or sleep, favorite programs, etc.): Do not forget.
- If you are diabetic or hypertensive, keep controlled their blood pressure and blood sugar level.
- Perform physical exercise routinely.
- Make sure you have understood all indications.
- Always attend the controls with your ophthalmologist.
Treatment and medical care are not enough if you do not become aware of the above recommendations. Remember that glaucoma can cause blindness, it is your decision to avoid it.
Myths and Realities about glaucoma
Myth: Marijuana is used to treat glaucoma
Fact: No, that’s wrong.
Myth: vision loss related to glaucoma does not affect my driving performance.
Fact: glaucoma may increase the risk of car accidents.
Myth: glaucoma only affects older adults.
Fact: No, glaucoma affects people of all ages.