A famous Latin proverb goes, ‘the face is the portrait of the mind, the eyes its informers’. It’s not too far off the mark. Our eyes help us see and understand the world around us. Sight is precious and to protect it, we must take various precautions. Glaucoma is a disease that can cause us to lose our vision, but if effective Glaucoma screening is done early, this condition can be treated. An alarming statistic says that 1 in 9 Indians may be at risk of being affected with glaucoma. Diagnosis and early detection are crucial for the effective treatment of glaucoma.
Glaucoma, the Condition
Glaucoma occurs when fluid pressure within the eye rises and the optic nerve is damaged, leading to permanent blindness. The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is more common, develops slowly and is a life-long condition. It is mostly asymptomatic and is caused by the slow clogging of drainage canals and results in increased eye pressure. In angle-closure glaucoma, the drainage canals get closed causing increased eye pressure, leading to optic nerve damage and could end in loss of sight. It could be gradual or acute and the former has no symptoms. If there is a sharp rise in the eye pressure, it could result in an acute attack of angle closure and can cause permanent vision damage.
Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Glaucoma:
Although it is mostly asymptomatic, it is characterised by patchy blind spots in peripheral or central vision for open angle and severe headache, blurred vision, eye redness, etc for acute attack of angle closure glaucoma.
Regular comprehensive eye exams (especially for those with high-risk factors) and timely detection of glaucoma can help prevent sight loss. Those over the age of 40 are at higher risk and must have eye screenings regularly. If a person has a family history of glaucoma, he /she may need regular eye exams.
Glaucoma detection requires tests like tonometry, gonioscopy, ophthalmoscopy, and perimetry. As for treatment, the loss to eyesight due to glaucoma can only be prevented or halted, but not cured or reversed. It is treated using medications, laser or incisional surgery. The patient must stick to a medication regimen to prevent further harm.
Effective Glaucoma Screening in Resource-Poor Settings
In India, a large population resides in rural areas that have poor access to eye-care facilities. Due to the complex nature of glaucoma screening and low access, many people in rural areas are undiagnosed. Using screening mechanisms that work best in these settings can help those affected by the disease. New techniques like opportunistic screening (every individual seeking professional eye care undergoes comprehensive eye exams), targeting high-risk groups, combining diagnostic tests, and advancing technological innovations can be used to detect glaucoma in resource-poor settings.
E-Learning New Techniques for Effective Glaucoma Screening
E-learning helps individuals connect to their peers and learn new techniques to detect glaucoma. Technology is evolving faster than ever before, and e-learning is proving to be an effective tool to meet the educational needs of doctors. Doctors can turn to courses that are specially designed to help them maintain competence and update their knowledge in the field of medicine.
Individuals interested in understanding the effective Glaucoma screening, diagnosis, treatment, and management of this condition can sign up for our ICO certified course. It covers topics including pathophysiology of glaucoma, Intraocular pressure, gonioscopy, disc evaluation, visual field testing, role of imaging, medical management and surgical options and management.
Check out our Glaucoma course by ICO – Comprehensive Course on Open Angle Glaucoma
Other Publications by the Author : Glaucoma Today
Dr. Nikhil Choudhari
Consultant, VST Centre for Glaucoma Care
LVPEI,Kallam Anji Reddy Campus, Hyderabad