‘Insidious progressive glaucoma can also be seen in children’
Eye Health and Disease Specialist Op. Dr. Burcu Işık made statements about the disease glaucoma (eye pressure). Defining Glaucoma, Op. Dr. “Glaucoma, popularly known as glaucoma, is an insidious disease that affects the optic nerve due to increased intraocular pressure. Normally, intraocular fluid is regularly produced and absorbed by some mechanism, keeping the intraocular pressure in equilibrium. A disturbance of this equilibrium leads to an increased intraocular pressure. Unless there is a glaucoma crisis, which we can call a sudden increase in intraocular pressure, the eye pressure produces no symptoms. Therefore, patients are diagnosed late and optic nerve damage may already have started.
“Patients with diabetes and hypertension are at risk”
Claiming that the greatest risk factor for glaucoma is age, Op. Dr. Işık said: “It is necessary to pay more attention to this disease in later life. However, although rarer, there are forms that are seen in infants and children. In addition, since those with a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk, they should be monitored more closely for this disease. In addition, long-term steroid users, diabetic patients, hypertensive patients, people with hypothyroidism, people with high myopia and hyperopia are also at risk. Although there are no risk factors, it is important for people to have their eyes checked regularly as it is an insidious disease.
Talking about the symptoms of glaucoma, Op. Dr. Işık shared the following information: “What needs to be emphasized again is that glaucoma is highly asymptomatic. From the periphery, the field of view narrows towards the center. Therefore, people may notice this narrowing of the visual field late. However, if there is a glaucoma crisis characterized by a sudden increase in intraocular pressure, the person may experience pain, redness in the eye, and blurred vision. These people should consult an ophthalmologist immediately and have their intraocular pressure lowered immediately.
“Diagnosis can be made with a routine eye exam”
Explaining the Glaucoma Diagnosis Process, Op. Dr Işık said: “Since intraocular pressure measurement is a routine part of eye examinations, these patients are usually diagnosed incidentally during these examinations. Although intraocular pressure is normal in some patients, the visual field test and optical coherence tomography test, which examine the optic nerve head, are performed for patients suspected of having ocular pressure.
“Eye tests should be done regularly for years”
Emphasizing the importance of early disease diagnosis, Op. Dr. Işık said: “The damage caused by glaucoma to the optic nerve is irreversible. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important. After the point of detection, the goal is to stop the disease and prevent the damage it can cause. Like diabetes, eye pressure is not a disease that can be completely cured. Patients must have regular eye tests over many years.
“Eye drops may be the first choice in treatment”
Referring to the ways of treatment, Op. Dr. Işık said: “If the intraocular pressure is not very high in glaucoma, drug treatment is the first choice. These are also eye drops. Although intraocular pressure is controlled by drug therapy, the patient usually continues to take the drug for life. In cases that cannot be controlled with medication, laser treatment or surgical treatment may be preferred. Sometimes patients stop taking medications after surgery. They do have to keep coming for eye checks,” he concluded.