Cure_World Glaucoma Day_2024

World Glaucoma Day

Glaucoma

The silent thief of sight

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can damage your optic nerve. The optic nerve supplies visual information to your brain from your eyes. Glaucoma is usually, but not always, the result of abnormally high pressure inside your eye.  Over time, the increased pressure can erode your optic nerve tissue, which may lead to vision loss or even blindness. If it’s diagnosed early, you may be able to prevent additional vision loss.

Shockingly only 1 in 20 are aware they have glaucoma and 50% will be blind in one eye by the time they seek an ophthalmologist for the first time.  In Sub Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 4.16% of the population aged 40 years and older are affected by glaucoma with a higher incidence among the black population (5-7%) compared to the Caucasian population (3-5%).  Despite being treatable, the South African Glaucoma Society (SAGS) emphasizes the major challenges faced, including:

  • lack of awareness,
  • late diagnosis,
  • poor follow-up visits,
  • and low compliance to treatment plans.

Who is at risk for Glaucoma?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), glaucoma is the second leading cause for blindness around the world.

The risk factors include:

  • Age – people over 60 are at an increased risk of glaucoma.
  • Ethnicity – people of African descent are significantly more likely to develop glaucoma that Caucasians.
  • Eye problems – chronic eye inflammation and thin corneas. Physical injury or trauma to your eye.
  • Family history – some types of glaucoma may run in families.
  • Medical history – people with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Use of certain medications – using corticosteroids for extended periods.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma.  It has no signs or symptoms, except gradual vision loss.

Symptoms of acute glaucoma.

  • Sudden blurring of vision.
  • Severe eye pain.
  • Red eyes.
  • Colored halos around lights.

If you have any of these symptoms, please seek medical help right away.

The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. If diagnosed and treated early, most people with glaucoma will not have significant vision loss.

If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a screening, please contact an Ophthalmologist today!

Prof Wayne MaraisOphthalmologist
Suite 207, 2nd floor, Free State Medical Center, 29 Poole street, Brandwag, Bloemfontein

Dr Shelley Anne BarrettOphthalmologist
Suite 207, 2nd floor, Free State Medical Centre, 29 Poole street, Brandwag, Bloemfontein

Dr Niel van WykOphthalmologist
Suite 208, 2nd floor, Free State Medical Centre, 29 Poole street, Brandwag, Bloemfontein

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