Ophthalmology 21


Glaucoma, although often asymptomatic, leads to irreversible vision loss. This is why regular visits to the ophthalmologist for early detection are so important.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases involving damage to the optic nerve - the ganglion of nerve fibres that carry the signal from the eye to the brain. Often the cause of the damage is an excessive increase in pressure inside the eyeball. "Glaucoma is a neuropathy of the optic nerve of as yet unknown cause, which Untreated, it inevitably leads to loss of vision. This is why early detection and appropriate treatment is so important.
Glaucoma is often referred to as the silent thief of sight because damage to the optic nerve occurs gradually, leaving people unaware of it. Periodically there may be eyeball pain, headaches, blurred vision, a rainbow halo around light sources, but often these symptoms are not associated with eye disease. When the patient begins to notice that something is wrong with his or her vision, e.g. that he or she misses, knocks down or stumbles over objects at the sides (so-called tunnel vision), the disease is often already at a very advanced stage.
Glaucoma diagnosis is not a straightforward matter, requiring many tests and often several visits to the ophthalmologist. In Poland, the problem of glaucoma affects approximately 800 000 people, but everyone should at leastundergo a full ophthalmological examination less once a yearand those at risk even every 6 months.
Risk factors for developing glaucoma include elevated intraocular pressure, age over 40, family history, certain diseases, i.e. diabetes, circulatory disorders, hypertension, heart disease, hypothyroidism, myopia, hypercholesterolaemia and, for example, migraine headaches.
Each year, World Glaucoma Week takes place during which glaucoma education and prevention activities are carried out around the world. 
Find out what factors contribute to the development of glaucoma