Myths and truths about glaucoma

Glaucoma is a chronic disease that affects the optic nerve, the structure responsible for connecting what the eye sees with the brain to form vision. Sufficiently high intraocular pressure injures the optic nerve progressively and, unfortunately, it is not possible to recover the injured parts of the nerve. Thus, glaucoma not treated properly can lead to permanent vision loss.


According to WHO – World Health Organization – Glaucoma affects one million Braziliansand is the biggest cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Much is said about glaucoma, but not everything circulating on the internet about the disease is true. Here are some myths and truths that circulate on the networks:

  • Is there a cure for glaucoma?


Glaucoma has no cure, but it can be controlled. That is why the importance of strict compliance with the treatment. Currently, treatments to control glaucoma consist mainly of surgical intervention and topical drug therapy, with surgical intervention required when a patient’s visual independence is at risk.


  • Can coffee be harmful for people with Glaucoma?


Eye pressure is, on average, 15 to 20% higher in coffee drinkers than in non-coffee drinkers. And when analyzing patients who drink coffee daily, eye pressure is higher in those who consume more coffee (>200mg of caffeine/day) when compared to those who consume less (<200mg of caffeine/day). Some studies prove that caffeine, when consumed moderately, although it increases intraocular pressure (average 2 mm Hg) does not cause damage, however indiscriminate and constant use can lead to an increased risk of developing glaucoma.


  • Can people with glaucoma wear contact lenses?


Contact lenses can be used in patients with glaucoma without eye damage, but during the instillation of the eye drops, the lenses must be removed so that the preservatives in the eye drops do not reduce their average life, or deposit on the lenses. Consult your ophthalmologist, as people with glaucoma need special care.


  • Can the smoking habit worsen the Glaucoma condition?


Smoking can cause serious illnesses that affect not only the lungs. Smoking is also a threat to the eyes, which can be affected by simpler problems such as ocular surface changes, allergies and Dry Eye Syndrome, and serious problems such as Age-Related Macular Disease (AMD), glaucoma and cataracts.. For both active and passive smokers, these diseases occur because cigarette smoke, which has many toxic components such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, ammonia, ketones, among others, is directly in contact with the eyes.


  • Who has Glaucoma can not do physical activity?


The relationship between intraocular pressure (IOP) and acute exercise has been studied in recent years, finding that acute exercise has a positive effect on IOP, however, aerobic exercise and resistance exercise (weight training and high-impact exercises) have different results. With regard to acute aerobic exercise, it can be mentioned that it has a positive effect on IOP, as it decreases. While resistance exercise has mixed results. Importantly, individuals with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) need to be careful with certain yoga poses. Get your doctor’s approval before practicing inverted poses or any pose that places your head below your heart..


  • Can excessive alcohol consumption make glaucoma worse?


Frequent and significant consumption of alcohol can increase eye pressure, resulting in damage to the optic nerve, which can cause glaucoma. Alcoholic beverages, especially if consumed in moderation and over a long period of time, can cause serious eye health problems..


  • Are elderly people more likely to develop glaucoma?


Primary glaucoma tends to arise during the aging process of the human body, especially after 40 years of age. There are studies that indicate a prevalence of 10% in the population over 80 years old.


  • Is glaucoma transmittable from one eye to the other?


Glaucoma occurs in a poorly differentiated way from one eye to the other, without interference between them. Glaucoma is not a contagious disease.


  • Should a person with glaucoma use eye drops forever?


Eye drops are usually prescribed as the first line of treatment for most types of glaucoma. It is essential to understand that there is no cure for glaucoma, so eye drops must be used regularly, every day, for the rest of your life. Repeated failures to use them correctly result in poor disease control and vision loss.

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