Glaucoma: silent blindness

There is a devastating statistical data on glaucoma which most people do not know: this disease is the main cause of blindness in the world. And it is called the “silent ceguesia” because – excluding acute glaucoma that produces intense pain – it is an Indo-Lora and asymptomatic condition. The patient realizes that he is suffering when the first symptoms of vision loss appear, which in most cases will be irreversible.

What is Glaucoma?

As we have said, glaucoma is a disease which, if not fried, causes a significant decline in vision. This is because in the eye there is an increase in intraocular pressure (not to be confused with blood pressure) that directly affects the optic nerve.

Why is there an increase in intraocular pressure?

The first thing we need to know is that inside the eye there is a constant flow of liquid – called aqueous humor. This fluid passes through a filtrate mesh called a trabecula and reaches a filtration channel. There are factors, from those related to other diseases, to hereditary factors or even to trauma, which cause this constant flow to be disrupted. As normal failure occurs, an increase in pressure to “pass” this liquid through the filtered mesh. Increased pressure is transmitted directly to the back of the eye where the optic nerve is located.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of this increase in pressure is that the optic nerve is suppressed, causing a rupture of the fibers that make up it. We have to bear in mind that the optic nerve is made up of thousands of fibers that transmit what we see in our brain. Every time one of these fibers is broken, it’s like we cut a running cable. The signal is incomplete. What is most serious is that every fibre that is broken is virtually impossible to breathe and to re-transmit information.

What happens then is that the patient loses out of peripheral vision. It is only able to see the central images, remaining increasingly with a more tunnel vision.

How can we avoid glaucoma?

The only way to avoid glaucoma is by prevention. Ophthalmological checks are the safest way of ensuring that there are no symptoms that the disease may be appearing, and above all of pre-empting the consequences. Recommendation is to carry out at least an eye-to-year review, especially if we know that there are family records that have suffered from the disease.

What remedies are there to stop the disease?

We could say that there are three ways to stop the disease from advancing:

·Drug treatment:

It is about the instituting of colliries. These drops are intended either to reduce the production of aqueous humor or to increase the ability to filter the transbecule, thus reducing intraocular pressure.

·Laser treatment

Known as Laser SLT is one of the most advanced and effective techniques for the treatment of glaucoma. Thanks to the action of a laser, the trabeculae area is selectively remodeled. This improves mesh filtering capacity significantly.

·Surgical treatment

It consists of the introduction of mechanical valves to increase the flow of aqueous humor. The main drawback is that it is necessary to go through surgery, but instead we get a virtually immediate drop in intraocular pressure. In addition, post-operative recovery is also very rapid.

The choice of one or other treatment will depend exclusively on medical criteria. But let us again point out that the most important thing is to keep an ongoing check on our vision through regular ophthalmological reviews.