Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that consists of a reduction of the visual field that use to be asymptomatic, causing difficulties to the diagnosis and early treatment, It affects an approximately 2% of the population older than 40 years and the percentage increases as age increases. Despite the risks involved, it is believed that many people who suffer from Glaucoma do not know it, so it is extremely important to check-up the eye to detect it early and stop its consequences.
To raise awareness of this illness and the importance of detecting it in time we share 10 important tips about Glaucoma:
1. Glaucoma is an asymptomatic disease. The person who has glaucoma does not notice any symptoms until the loss of vision is very obvious.
2. Having glaucoma does not mean going blind. It is true that glaucoma has the last consequence, if it is not treated, of vision loss. That is why it is important to have regular examinations which allow early detection and start treatment as soon as possible.
3. Most of glaucomas have the same origin. In many cases, high intraocular pressure, along with other elements, causes an early death of optical nerve cells.
4. Glaucoma first attack is, especially, peripheral vision. Usually, people who suffer from Glaucoma begin to lose peripheral vision. Progressively this loss of vision becomes more focused until finally, central vision is lost as well.
5. Most of glaucomas are of slow progress. The highest percentage of glaucomas are chronic and of slow evolution, in other words, the disease is gradually evoluioning in the destruction of the optic nerve cells.
6. Closed-angle glaucoma. It is a type of glaucoma that causes intraocular pressure to increase rapidly and, in this case, does cause symptoms. Because of the increasing, it produces pain, red eye, loss of vision, etc. This kind of glaucomas are detected quickly because patients usually goes to the emergency room.
7. Treatments can slow down and even stop Glaucoma. Despite being a disease that can cause blindness, there are treatments that slow down the process of optic nerve cell death. In fact, they can even stop it.
8. It affects more than 2% of the population over 40 years old. Hence, it is considered a common disease. The probability of being affected by glaucoma increases to 5% with the age.
9. Risk groups. People who have to make a periodic ophthalmological exploration (intraocular pressure, optic nerve, etc.) are people older than 40 years, those with a family history, those with myopia and people of African descent.
10. Artificial intelligence can help detect an early Glaucoma. A recent study, in which Dr. Alfonso Antón, head of the ICR Glaucoma Department, participated, has proved that the use of an algorithm based on artificial intelligence would facilitate the authomatic detection of glaucoma signs in retinographies (images of the eye depth). This would allow to improve the number of early diagnoses.