Glaucoma, popularly known as "eye pressure", can cause permanent vision loss that progresses without symptoms. Anadolu Medical Center Eye Diseases Specialist, who defines glaucoma as a silent danger. Naci Sakaoğlu said, “Glaucoma is not a disease that we can prevent, but with early diagnosis, it is possible to stop glaucoma-related visual damage. Therefore, regular eye examinations should not be neglected, especially from the age group of 45-50, when the risk is higher.
Stating that the incidence of glaucoma, which usually progresses without any symptoms, is about 2 percent in Turkey, but the rate of diagnosed patients is between 25 and 30 percent, Anadolu Medical Center Ophthalmology Specialist Dr. Naci Sakaoğlu emphasized that the number of patients with undiagnosed glaucoma is quite high. Dr. Sakaoğlu answered 8 questions about glaucoma.
1- Who is more at risk for glaucoma?
The causes of the disease also reveal the risk factors. High intraocular pressure, being over 50 years old, family history of glaucoma, genetic predisposition, presence of other concomitant eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, branch central retinal vein occlusion, uveitis, ocular trauma, long-term use of cortisone, Arctic region diseases such as Canada, Greenland Geographical factors such as narrow-angle glaucoma are common in East Asian peoples and may pose a risk for glaucoma.
2- Is it enough just to measure the intraocular pressure for the diagnosis of glaucoma?
A careful eye examination is essential for the diagnosis of glaucoma. While measuring intraocular pressure with a device called tonometry, visual field examination is used to examine whether there is any damage in peripheral vision. Corneal thickness is measured, tomographic examinations are also performed if necessary for more detailed analysis of the optic nerve and retinal vessels.
3- Does glaucoma treatment improve vision loss?
The main purpose of treatment; It is to stop the vision loss caused by the disease and the progression of the optic nerve damage. For this reason, eye nerve damage and vision loss that have occurred up to that point do not improve retrospectively. For treatment; Some drugs (mostly eye drops) and/or surgical techniques, laser applications can be used with the aim of reaching eye pressure levels that will not cause eye nerve damage and stop the progression of the disease. In cases where these treatments, which are successful in most patients, are insufficient, laser and surgical techniques can also be applied. It should be noted that; Glaucoma treatment is a life-long treatment, thus preventing the progression of vision loss.
4- Is regular exercise beneficial for glaucoma?
Regular exercise temporarily lowers eye pressure, but anaerobic exercise should be avoided. In other words, sudden acceleration while running, cycling, movements such as sit-ups, pull-ups, lifting weights, scuba diving and bungee jumping with the head down are harmful for glaucoma because they increase intraocular pressure, and are not recommended.
5- Can glaucoma be seen in newborn babies?
Congenital glaucoma can be found in babies born to one or two siblings with glaucoma, whose mother or father is related, and who has a family history of blindness. The increase in eye pressure in the womb causes the outer shell of the eyeball, which is still soft, to expand and babies to be born with large eyes. In addition, the eye is bluish in color, the cornea is dull. These babies avoid light and their eyes water excessively.
6- Is taking vitamins and minerals good for glaucoma?
Vitamin and mineral supplements have no place in the treatment of glaucoma. However, there are some scientific studies that show that some vitamins and magnesium provide benefits in addition to the main treatment. Despite this, we cannot say that it has become a rule in daily treatment practice.
7- What is ocular hypertension?
People with eye pressure above 22 mmHg but without glaucoma are ocular hypertensive, but this is not a disease. The important point is: Since their eye pressure is higher than other people, they are at risk of developing glaucoma.
8- What is normal pressure glaucoma and how is it treated?
In patients with glaucoma, the eye pressure is usually 20 mmHg and above. In this type of glaucoma, the eye pressure is below 20 mmHg. While it is a slowly progressing type of glaucoma, it is very difficult to treat. Because of its close relationship with blood and vascular diseases, it is important to support its treatment in this respect.