We often have a tendency to limit discussions on health with weight loss, diet and physical exercise. While all those things are important, our body is made up of different components and organs. Thus the only way we can be truly healthy is to have a holistic view on health and our bodies in general.
A few weeks ago it was Glaucoma Week- which aimed to promote the elimination of glaucoma blindness by alerting people to have regular eye checks, including optic nerve checks. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in Nigeria which can be prevented by early detection and frequent eye checks.
To help shed in-depth knowledge on the topic, we spoke with an optometrist from the Visions Opticals Team based in The Palms Shopping Mall, who broke down all we need to know about Glaucoma.
More about Visions Opticals
Visions Opticals is a leading optical practice with three decades of experience and expertise. Their state of the art equipment and dedication to innovation have enabled them remain the leading optical practice in Nigeria. Visions Opticals also retail fashionable, high engineered and luxury eyewear as well as provide the best lens solutions based on patient’s needs, which are most effective for their lifestyle. As well as first rate optical service provision, Visions Opticals pride themselves on excellent quality, maintaining key relationships with our clients across the country and strive to consistently over deliver based on their mission statement to be the ‘ultimate in eye care’
Dr-Karen-Adasen- Visions Opticals Optometrist
The Facts on Glaucoma
IBG: What is Glaucoma?
VO: Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals your vision. Often, glaucoma has no symptoms and can suddenly result in vision loss. Without proper treatment, glaucoma can lead to blindness. The good news is that with regular eye exams, early detection, and treatment, you can preserve your sight.
IBG: How is it diagnosed? And what are its symptoms?
VO: To diagnose glaucoma, an optometrist will test your vision and examine your eyes through dilated pupils. The eye exam typically focuses on the optic nerve, which has a particular appearance in glaucoma. The doctor will also perform a procedure called TONOMETRY to check the eye pressure, and a visual field test, if necessary, to determine if there is loss of side vision.
In less common kinds of glaucoma, symptoms can be more severe. The symptoms can include:
• Hazy vision
• Eye and head pain
• Nausea or vomiting
• The appearance of rainbow coloured circles around bring lights.
• Sudden sight loss
IBG: What are some of its long term impacts on visual health?
VO: These include;
• Damaged optic nerve
• Loss of peripheral vision (tunnel vision)
• Loss of vision.
4. How is it treated? Is there a cure?
• eye drops
• laser surgery
IBG: Is there a cure?
VO: With early diagnosis and proper medication and treatment, glaucoma can be controlled. However, sight loss resulting from glaucoma cannot be restored. At the present time, THERE IS NO CURE.
IBG: What are some of the statistics on Glaucoma in Nigeria and Africa?
VO: Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, accounting for 8% of blindness among 39million people who are blind world-wide.
In Africa, glaucoma accounts for 15% of blindness and it is the region with the highest prevalence of blindness relative to other region world-wide.
Dr Abiola Oyeleye a leading Ophthalmologist estimates no fewer than 1.2 million Nigerians above 40 years are living with glaucoma. These numbers are based on 2007 statistics, therefore we can extrapolate that these numbers would have significantly increased over the last decade.
IBG: What is the root cause of Glaucoma and risk factors?
VO: The exact causes of optic nerve damage from glaucoma is not fully understood, but involves mechanical compression and/or decreased blood flow of the optic nerve. Although high eye pressure sometimes leads to glaucoma, many people can also develop glaucoma with “normal” eye pressure.
Regarding the risk factors, it is important to note that high eye pressure alone does not mean that you have glaucoma, but it is an important risk factor your optometrist/ ophthalmologist will use to determine your risk for developing the disease.
The most important risk factors include:
• elevated eye pressure
• African ancestry
• thin cornea
• family history of glaucoma
• near sightedness
• past injuries to the eyes
• steroid use
• a history of severe anaemia or shock
IBG: How can it be prevented?
VO: Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if it is diagnosed and treated early, the disease can be controlled.
IBG: Is there a specific diagnostic test for diagnosing Glaucoma?
VO: YES there are specific diagnostic tests for diagnosing glaucoma:
• Intraocular pressure measurement (IOP)
• Visual fields analysis
IBG: Advice for those who have already been diagnosed?
VO: We advice the following
- Religious application of their medication prescribed by an eye specialist.
- Go for regular check ups
- Screen family who currently do not have it because it is genetic.
To find out more about Visions Opticals or Glaucoma, please contact the Vision Opticals team via the following platforms