Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to blindness slowly and silently. As the symptoms of glaucoma are often not noticed by the patient, most cases are only diagnosed in their advanced stage. Therefore, it is very important to know more about this condition and understand the correct way to preserve the health of the view for a longer time.
Care for Life interviewed ophthalmologist Caetano Bellote Filho, who indicated the best treatment options for glaucoma – which, depending on the case, could be the daily use of eye drops or surgery for more complicated conditions. Check it out!
What is Glaucoma? Know the Symptoms of Glaucoma
“Glaucoma is a disease that affects the nerve of the eye, leading to progressive loss of the field of vision,” explains Dr. Caetano Bellote. In general, the patient does not usually have any apparent symptoms, however, the doctor says that some types of the disease can cause severe eye pain. In addition, the patient may also notice the blurry vision or distorted, red eyes, nausea or vomiting, and headache. If you notice any of these changes, don’t think twice about looking for an ophthalmologist for a routine exam.
Treatment for glaucoma: how does it work? In what cases are eye drops for glaucoma or glaucoma surgery indicated?
According to ophthalmologist Caetano Bellote, the focus of treatment for glaucoma is on controlling and reducing pressure on the eye: “Generally, therapy is done using eye drops for glaucoma, but surgical and laser procedures may be necessary ”. The choice will depend on the type of disease the patient has.
For open-angle glaucoma, treatment is done with daily eye drops, specific oral medications. If you are in an advanced condition, the patient may need to undergo a laser procedure to unblock the circulation of aqueous humor – it is the difficulty in draining this liquid that generates pressure on the eye. In the case of congenital glaucoma, treatment needs to be surgical, as this is the only way the doctor can clear the obstruction.
Glaucoma has a cure? Does glaucoma surgery have any risks?
It is important to emphasize that any type of surgery carries risks, but to reassure fearful patients, Dr. Caetano guarantees that, in experienced hands and with a good medical indication, the risks are much lower. On the other hand, the specialist clarifies: “There is no cure for glaucoma! Both surgery and other treatments aim to control the disease”. That’s why it’s so important to go regularly to the ophthalmologist for an annual check-up or every six months and make sure that the disease is under control.
In addition to glaucoma, consultation with an ophthalmologist also helps to control and prevent other eye problems, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia, which are the most common among Brazilians. With the eye exam, it is possible to detect glaucoma and all these diseases at an early stage, ensuring a simpler treatment with greater chances of success.
Is it possible to prevent the damage caused by glaucoma?
The ophthalmologist warns: “The best way to avoid the damage caused by glaucoma is an early diagnosis of the disease. Therefore, the importance of routine appointments with your trusted specialist doctor “. We know that treatment for glaucoma is essential to combat the severe stage of the disease, but, just as important, it is a very regimented care routine to maintain control of this condition that affects the view.
Among the recommended measures are not playing wind instruments, such as flute and trumpet, as this raises intraocular pressure, much less drinking a high amount of liquid too quickly, as the habit increases the production of aqueous humor in the eyes. Another important tip is to minimize the use of screens (cell phone, television, computer), as facing these devices for an exaggerated amount of time can aggravate the disease.
At what age should I go to the ophthalmologist?
Following the recommendation of Brazilian Society of Ophthalmopediatrics (SBOP), the first visit to the ophthalmologist should be made in the child’s first year of life, if possible, when the child is 6 months old. It is not necessary for the patient to have some kind of complaint to visit this professional. However, guardians and caregivers need to be aware of the signs of visual changes in the little ones:
- falls or bumps too often;
- blink excessively;
- is sensitive to the sun or any other type of light;
- there is a lot of itching in the eyes;
- gets too close to the TV to watch a cartoon, for example;
- headache frequently.
All of these symptoms may be related to some eye change. However, in most cases, the child (especially when very young) does not complain about these aspects and this is exactly why a routine consultation with the ophthalmologist in the first year of life becomes so important.