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A BLINDING PRESSURE: “GLAUCOMA”


12/03/2015

Commonly known by the name of "eye pressure", glaucoma is at the top of the world's list of insidious diseases. İhsan Öge, MD, Prof., of Dünyagöz Etiler explains that anyone older than 35 years may have glaucoma, which may progress to blindness (loss of vision) unless treated, and shares important information about this disease, which is also common in Turkey, on the occasion of World Glaucoma Week on March 11-17.

Commonly known by the name of "eye pressure", glaucoma is at the top of the world's list of insidious diseases. İhsan Öge, MD, Prof., of Dünyagöz Etiler explains that anyone older than 35 years may have glaucoma, which may progress to blindness (loss of vision) unless treated, and shares important information about this disease, which is also common in Turkey, on the occasion of World Glaucoma Week on March 11-17.

Research shows that an estimated 2 million people are at risk of glaucoma but only 5% of them are aware of their condition. This insidious disease can develop in anyone, particularly after the age of 35, and may progress to blindness unless treated. Prof. İhsan Öge of Dünyagöz Etiler notes that people can develop glaucoma at any age, and continues: “Glaucoma (eye pressure) occurs as a result of continued high intraocular eye pressure and weakening of eye muscles and the number of glaucoma patients has increased significantly in Turkey. Unfortunately, however, many patients are unaware that they have this disease. Glaucoma is the leading cause of avoidable blindness around the world, and early diagnosis and treatment is essential. The reason is the fact that once lost, vision cannot be regained in any way. The disease can only be contained at the level which it is diagnosed at. And this is only possible with a very careful follow up and treatment process. Thanks to current treatment methods, the majority of patients can maintain an acceptable level of vision throughout their lives.”

People with diabetes and myopia are at a two-fold increased risk

People with familial history of glaucoma, diabetes, myopia, low blood pressure and night sleep problems should be monitored carefully. Prof. Öge emphasizes that glaucoma is a very dangerous disease and can lead to sudden loss of vision without any pain or discomfort, and people should have eye examinations twice a year for eye pressure up to their 40's. Explaining that there are more than two million glaucoma patients in Turkey and everybody is under serious risk after a certain age, Prof. Öge adds, “Increased eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve. That's why the eye's nerves and nerve fiber layer thickness should be evaluated at regular intervals using modern devices. This is particularly important if a person's elderly relatives or other family members have eye pressure. Eye pressure is the silent thief of vision and affects several million people in Turkey. All of these patients are at risk of losing their vision in the future.”

Treatment is also possible with medication

Progressing without warning and resulting in visual loss, this disease can also be treated with typical drugs such as eye drops. Prof. Öge states that surgery and laser treatment can also be used if necessary, and adds, “Drug therapy is sufficient in the first stages of the disease. However, early diagnosis is vital here. Because loss of vision is not reversible. Therefore, people should have their eyes examined after a certain age. We can resort to surgery and laser therapy if necessary.” 

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