Eye Matters
July 16, 2013

Is your eye pressure really under control?

She looked up at me with tears brimming in her eyes and said “Doctor, but I did all the right things.

“I used the drops as you said; I followed up from time to time. Why am I going blind?{{more}}

“I was always told the eye pressures were good.”

I looked at her, not knowing how to start. I really felt sorry for her. She really did all the things that she thought was right. The only thing that she did not do was to follow up as regularly as the World Health Organisation recommends for glaucoma. Her eye pressures always registered normal, so it gave her the false impression that everything was under control.

Glaucoma is best defined as a group of eye diseases that gradually steal your sight without any warning. Usually in the early stages of the disease, there are no symptoms. It is estimated that at least half of the people afflicted by this disease may not even know it.

People with highest risk for glaucoma are: people of African origin, family members of a glaucoma patient, people over a certain age group, steroid users, people with injury to the eye and people with elevated eye pressure.

Other risk factors may include: diabetes, hypertension, high myopia (nearsightedness), and a central corneal thickness less than 0.5mm.

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle closure glaucoma.

The main reason why people go blind with this disease is because of damage to the optic nerve.

Not only people with high eye pressure have glaucoma, people with normal or low eye pressure can also develop glaucoma.

There is no known cure for glaucoma. However, the use of medication and surgery can help to slow down or prevent further vision loss.

Detecting the disease early is crucial for stopping its progression.

It should be noted that there is no single test that is 100 per cent effective in determining whether one has glaucoma or not. The diagnosis of the disease depends on many factors, some of which include the measurement of your visual acuity (evaluation of your central vision), Perimetry (visual fields-evaluation of your peripheral vision), Tonometry

(measuring eye pressure), Ophthalmoscopy (evaluation of the optic nerve and retina), Gonioscopy (evaluation of the anterior chamber angle), Optic nerve imaging and Pachymetry (which measures the thickness of your cornea).

Regular complete eye examinations help in the early detection of glaucoma. People at risk should check their eyes every year. Patients with already established glaucoma should check their eyes every four months. This is because the effectivity of the medication sometimes ceases to work as it should and the disease progresses.

Please remember glaucoma has no warning sign. When a patient comes in and is diagnosed immediately with glaucoma, then it is already too late. Glaucoma is prevalent in St Vincent and the Grenadines and you will always be at risk if someone in your family has it.

Therefore I am inviting everyone to our presentation, “Everything you ever wanted to know about glaucoma,” on July 27, 2013 at the Peace Memorial Hall from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Seating is limited, call and register. Telephone 456-1210.

We also plan to do presentations on other topics such as:

1. Are computers damaging to your eyes?

2. All you ever wanted to know about cataracts.

3. All you ever wanted to know about diabetic eye disease.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com
Tel: 784 456-1210