This condition is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. The cause of this disorder is increased intraocular pressure (IOP). It devastates the eye nerve, causing damage to the eye and making it blind. Visual signals stop reaching the brain and the person goes blind.
It is worth knowing that vision lost due to glaucoma cannot be restored. The condition can only be stopped or prevented, but unfortunately, it cannot be restored as it once was. That is why it is vital to have regular check-ups at a specialized ophthalmology clinic..
Diagnosis of glaucoma
Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease that damages the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss. The worst thing about glaucoma is its sudden and insidious progression, gradually destroying the nerve fibers of the eye, thereby leading to blindness.
To avoid this, you should undergo regular eye exams after 40 years of age and if there is a family history of the disease, you should do eye check-ups for glaucoma even more often. Therefore, consider scheduling an appointment at a specialized ophthalmology clinic, such as Eximer, which has been accepting patients for over 20 years and is waiting for you in Kyiv and Odesa (Ukraine).
Symptoms of glaucoma
The danger of glaucoma lies in its suddenness and unpredictability. Often nothing foretells the development of this condition, until suddenly the person starts losing his or her eyesight rapidly. In fact, the disease has already matured, it was just unnoticed. This is why it is crucial to undergo regular eye exams to detect the disorder in its early stages. This factor is critical in preventing blindness.
- Pressing pain in the eyes.
- Unbearable headache.
- A person sees iridescent circles around light sources.
- Vision is markedly impaired in the dark.
- Shaft vision appears, that is, the field of vision narrows, and the person sees as in a tunnel.
- Noticeable eye redness.
Reasons not to delay the check-up?
If glaucoma is detected at an early stage, then most likely you are not in danger of going blind. But it is worth mentioning that this is a chronic and progressive disorder, so your vision may gradually deteriorate to some extent. Still, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the chances of preserving your vision and your ability to move around freely and enjoy life.
There is a recommendation. Have an eye exam once a year after the age of 40. If you are at high risk of developing glaucoma, you should have your eyes examined even more often, checking your intraocular pressure.
When should I have a glaucoma check-up?
Everyone is susceptible to glaucoma, but the risk increases with age. It has also been observed that African Americans and Hispanics are much more likely to have glaucoma than other races, and tend to experience it at an earlier age. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have glaucoma.
Other risk factors may include:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Vision problems such as myopia or hyperopia.
- High blood pressure.
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids.
- Eye trauma or surgery.
Therefore, if you suffer from one of these factors or observe any alarming symptoms:
- Blurred vision.
- Flies, sparks, curtains in front of your eyes.
- Sudden severe eye pain or headache.
- Light sensitivity.
You should schedule an appointment at a specialized ophthalmology clinic as soon as possible, where they can conduct a set of examinations, make an accurate diagnosis, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Laser diagnosis of glaucoma
Modern medicine makes it possible to use revolutionary technology as the optical coherence tomography (OCT) to diagnose such a dangerous disease. This is a laser-scanning device, aimed at diagnosing vascular diseases of the retina. The device’s signal is able to penetrate deep into the eye ground and detect the most serious problems in the retinal vessels. It is important that the retinologist can see changes under the retina on the image without introducing a contrast agent, i.e., without invasive intervention.
This device can also be used for laser diagnosis of glaucoma, assessment of its progress, and effectiveness of the ongoing treatment.
Early diagnosis of glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition of the eye nerve that keeps progressing. Our goal is to find, stop, and slow down its progression. Unfortunately, a person can rarely notice his/her eyesight worsening, and usually, when this happens, 50% of the vision is already lost irreversibly.
It is highly advisable to detect glaucoma at the initial stage, and only a specialist can do this using modern high-precision diagnostic methods.
Unfortunately, there used to be no such devices as there are today, and people often found out about the dangerous condition only when there was already partial atrophy of the optic nerve. Today, it is possible thanks to innovative technologies in ophthalmology and the latest diagnostic devices.
In the initial stages, a person may experience burning, fatigue, flickers, and flashes in front of the eyes. If you notice one of the symptoms, then don’t waste precious time, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Diagnosis of acute glaucoma
In ophthalmology, just like in other areas of medicine, there are emergencies requiring immediate hospitalization and care, and an acute attack of glaucoma is just such a case. This dangerous condition is caused by a sharp increase in eye pressure and is most commonly associated with closed-angle glaucoma. In this condition, the natural outflow of the intraocular fluid is disturbed, which causes the drainage system of the eye to become clogged, and the pressure rises.
Distinguishing this dangerous condition from an ordinary migraine or heart problem can be difficult, but realistic. The symptoms are all too striking for an acute glaucoma attack:
- Extremely severe pressing pain in the eye;
- Eye stiffness; it becomes like a stony, unmoving;
- Nausea, maybe even vomiting;
- Severe eye redness;
- Pupil turns a dark green color from black.
Acute glaucoma can occur for a variety of reasons:
- Increased physical exertion;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Damage to the eye;
- Working in a tilted position;
- Use of certain medications: vasoconstrictor drops, depression pills, pupil dilation drops, etc.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that all the factors that can provoke an acute glaucoma attack are still unknown.
During the first 24 hours of an acute glaucoma attack, it is critical to reduce the intraocular pressure, so that the retina and the nerves get the necessary nutrition. This requires urgent ophthalmological care, and the sooner a person applies for it, the more likely he/she will be able to preserve the vision.
To avoid acute glaucoma, an eye exam should be performed annually in a specialized clinic.
Differential diagnosis of glaucoma
Glaucoma is very difficult to detect at the initial stage because its manifestations are imperceptible, but as it gets stronger and gains strength, you have to watch out. Yet, differential diagnosis of glaucoma is essential to avoid becoming a sudden victim.
We have already discussed the closed-angle variant of this disorder. That is why we are going to dwell on its other two kinds in more detail.
Differential diagnosis of congenital glaucoma
This disorder occurs in the very first years of the baby’s life or even from birth and requires early diagnosis and treatment.
Triggering factors of congenital glaucoma: genetic predisposition, viral infections of the mother, hypervitaminosis, trauma, etc. Alerting factors of the child’s behavior are as follows:
- The baby is restless, eating badly and regurgitating food.
- The cornea of the eye becomes blurred. The pupil itself is more dilated than in a normal person.
And the major symptom is increased intraocular pressure.
Such a differential diagnosis of the eye pathological condition allows suspecting the disease at an early stage and preventing the worst consequences.
Differential diagnosis of open-angle glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma mostly affects people over 60 years of age. It is a progressive disease that acts gradually but surely and causes blindness due to increased eye pressure.
Patients with open-angle glaucoma often complain of decreased vision and poor accommodation, that is, the ability to change focus quickly from a distant object to a close one. There are also complaints of headaches, fog, or flashes in front of the eyes. Of course, the disease is accompanied by increased intraocular pressure.
The following techniques are used to diagnose this condition:
- The doctor measures the intraocular pressure.
- Gonioscopy allows determining how open the angle of the anterior eye chamber is, as well as whether there are any serious changes inside.
- Ophthalmoscopy assists in examining the eye ground and abnormal changes in the optic nerves, or vascular plexus of the eye.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT)is designed to look for changes in the optic nerve that may indicate glaucoma.
- Visual field test (perimetry)is aimed at verifying changes in peripheral vision (a person’s ability to see objects from the side).
Advantages of our clinic
Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic offers a safe and painless glaucoma treatment with a customized treatment program for each patient depending on the diagnosis and findings.
Top 5 reasons to choose our clinic:
- We employ highly qualified retinologists with vast experience in the successful treatment of retinal diseases and glaucoma.
- Our clinic is equipped with unique state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, as well as laser and microsurgical systems designed for high-precision glaucoma treatment.
- We apply advanced glaucoma treatment techniques that are approved by leading European eye centers. These techniques can normalize intraocular pressure and reduce dependence on drops.
- All microsurgical and operative interventions are quick, no hospitalization is required, and the patient can go home the same day.
- Before treatment, all patients sign a contract with all the guarantees and the course of treatment provided by the clinic. The doctor is in constant contact with each patient after surgery 24 hours a day.