Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 13th 2015 Contents 5
Friday, March 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The initiative this week is to increase the awareness of
glaucoma and the need for testing, encourage regular rou-
tine screening for early detection and treatment and to
help affected persons and their ophthalmologist manage
the disease properly to allow preservation of eyesight for a
full and productive life.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the Optic Nerve or Nerve of vi-
sion in which degenerative changes occur in the nerve
causing a gradual loss of sight that may progress to com-
plete blindness. Glaucoma is often associated with a raised
Eye Pressure and Glaucoma:
The eye can be thought of like a ball, which is divided into
two compartments. The front compartment is filled with a
watery fluid, which drains out through special channels.
The pressure in the eye depends on the balance between
the inflow of fluid into and its drainage from the eye. In
glaucoma there is obstruction of the drainage channels re-
sulting in accumulation of fluid leading to an increase in the
pressure within the eye.
How does glaucoma damage the eye?
It is usually caused by high eye pressure but people with
normal eye pressure can also get glaucoma. It is not en-
tirely known how glaucoma damages sight but it probably
does so by mechanical compression and/or reduced blood
flow to the optic nerve.
Damage is shown by:
• Gradual loss of peripheral vision in one or both eyes.
• Blurry vision.
• Tunnel vision during the advanced stages.
Treatment limits the amount of damage either by di-
rectly decreasing the eye pressure or by improving the cir-
What are the types of Glaucoma
1. Chronic glaucoma, the common form, is without symp-
toms in the early stages.
2. Acute glaucoma is less common and is associated
with pain, redness and dimness of vision.
3. Secondary glaucoma associated with other disease, in-
jury and some types of drugs.
Children may be born with glaucoma or it may develop
later in life. Persons with a family history of glaucoma
have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Who gets Glaucoma
• AGE -- Although all ages can have it, glaucoma usually
occurs in the older adult (over 35 and increases with
• RACE -- chronic open angle glaucoma occurs more
commonly and is more aggressive in coloured races.
• EYE DISEASE -- e.g. near-sighted, past eye injury
• FAMILY HISTORY -- those with parents, brothers or sis-
ters or other family member. It can skip generations.
How often should I have my eyes examined
You should see your Ophthalmologist annually, especially
if you are over 35 years of age, or have
• Family history of glaucoma
• Had a serious eye injury in the past
• On steroid eye medication
How is Glaucoma detected
Most people with glaucoma do not have any eye symp-
toms e.g. decreased vision and pain until the disease is far
advanced. Treatment is most effective in the early stage of
the disease. Therefore, the way to prevent vision loss is to
have a comprehensive eye examination by an Ophthalmol-
ogist. This includes --
• Family history questions
• Eye pressure measurement pressure test alone is not
an adequate glaucoma test.
• Examination of the optic nerve (may include pictures).
• Measurement of corneal thickness
• Test of your side vision (visual field test)
• Optic nerve scans (e.g. Optical Coherence
Tomography -- OCT)
Treatment of Glaucoma.
• Glaucoma cannot be cured! It can be controlled with
• Vision that has been lost due to glaucoma cannot be
Treatment for glaucoma helps to slow down or prevent
further damage by decreasing the pressure on the optic
Treatment of Glaucoma employs the use of:
1. Medications mainly in the form of eye drops.
2. Laser treatment is also a safe and effective, especially
the narrow angle glaucoma.
3. Trabeculectomy and other surgical treatments includ-
ing the implantation of drainage tubes.
Because the prevalence of glaucoma is high in the
Caribbean and there are no symptoms in the early stages,
the way to reduce the blindness rate is to have routine
screening especially in those at higher risk from the dis-
ease e.g. over 35 years of age, or with a positive family his-
tory or other identifiable risk factors. Once diagnosed with
glaucoma, it is necessary to apply medication as pre-
scribed, attend regularly for eye examinations and follow
the advice of your Ophthalmologist.
LIKE a BOSS PREVENT SIGHT LOSS
BEAT INVISIBLE GLAUCOMA!
Submitted by Dr. Deo Singh, Caribbean Eye Institute.
It estimated that 50% of Glaucoma subjects in the developed nations and 90% in
the underdeveloped nations are unaware that they have the disease.
Top picture - normal visual field.
Bottom picture -- constricted visual
field in glaucoma patients.
Links Archive March 12th 2015 March 14th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page