Pandemic process prevents early diagnosis of glaucoma

pandemic process prevents early detection of glaucoma
pandemic process prevents early detection of glaucoma

Turkish Ophthalmology Society, between 7-13 March 2021 under the World Glaucoma Week aims to raise social awareness against glaucoma with activities organized in Turkey.

Prof. Dr. Stating that early diagnosis of glaucoma that progresses without symptoms is of vital importance, Ilgaz Yalvaç said, “Pandemic restrictions are the biggest obstacle to early diagnosis of the disease in this period when we are locked out of the house. He warned that anyone over the age of 40, with a family history of glaucoma, should have eye checks.

Glaucoma disease, popularly known as 'eye pressure', ranks 2nd among the causes of blindness in the world. Glaucoma affects approximately 6 million people worldwide today, of whom 70 million are fully blind. Turkish Ophthalmology Society 7-13 March 2021 under the World Glaucoma Week is held between performing various activities throughout Turkey aims to increase social awareness against glaucoma.

Restrictions are the biggest obstacle to early detection

Head of Turkish Ophthalmology Society Glaucoma Unit Prof. Dr. Ilgaz Yalvaç pointed out that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the isolation in the society and the decrease in routine examinations caused serious problems in the diagnosis of glaucoma and in the evaluation of the adequacy of the treatment. "Therefore, anyone over the age of 40 who has a family history of glaucoma should have their eye checks as soon as possible, or those who have been treated for glaucoma should have their checks," said Prof. Dr. Yalvaç also underlined that the coexistence of COVID-19 and glaucoma has not been detected so far except for a single case and that glasses should be used to protect the eyes as well as to use a mask while protecting from coronavirus.

It is estimated that close to two and a half million glaucoma patients can switch to treatment was diagnosed in Turkey only one out of every four patients. The most important feature of glaucoma, which is a serious social health problem that causes irreversible vision loss, is the insidious progress of the patients without symptoms and late diagnosis.

Activities from the Turkish Ophthalmology Association throughout the week

Turkish Ophthalmology Association Glaucoma Unit will organize various activities within the scope of pandemic measures this year, as every year, due to the “World Glaucoma Week” between 7-13 March 2021. To various metro stops and buses in Istanbul; Posters will be posted and video screenings will be made at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara with information increasing the awareness about glaucoma. Also, posters about glaucoma week will be hanged in family physicians and hospitals and patient information booklets prepared by TOD Glaucoma Unit will be distributed. prepared in order to increase public awareness in Turkey, artists, players, scientists and businessmen from the video that people get the message consisting of the well-known names are also to take part in social media channels.

Pain, thought to be migraine, may be eye pressure

Speaking at World Glaucoma Week, Head of Turkish Ophthalmology Society Glaucoma Unit Prof. Dr. Ilgaz Yalvaç: “The most common type of glaucoma, known as open angle glaucoma, is usually detected incidentally in patients who come for an eye examination due to a different complaint. Many patients learn that they have eye tension when they apply to an ophthalmologist, usually after the age of 40, due to near vision impairment. In another type of glaucoma known as narrow-angle glaucoma, patients confuse the symptoms of glaucoma with migraine attacks. Headaches that are thought to be migraines can actually develop insidiously progressive eye tension disease that can lead to blindness over time. Regardless of the type of glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can control the disease and preserve vision, ”he said.

Genetic predisposition increases glaucoma 7 times

Prof. Dr. Yalvaç continued as follows: “The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle or in other words, insidious glaucoma. Especially the presence of first-degree relatives such as mother, father and siblings with glaucoma increases the risk of the disease in family members 7 times. Narrow angle glaucoma, which is less common, can be seen more frequently in women and people with high hyperopia. "Long-term cortisone treatment for diabetes, ocular or other reasons is other risk factors for glaucoma," he said. Prof. dr. In Yalvaç's words, “Although glaucoma usually occurs as a result of high intraocular pressure, glaucoma can occur under normal or even low pressures in some special conditions. This type, which is called normal tension glaucoma, can usually be seen in those who have vascular problems, low blood pressure, and problems with breathing (sleep apnea) at night, ”he continued.

Watch out for glaucoma in infants

Prof. Dr. Reminding that babies may also have glaucoma, Ilgaz Yalvaç continued his words as follows: “In case the intraocular canals carrying out the eye fluid are not fully developed in the mother's womb, eye pressure may increase in the fetus during pregnancy and the baby is born with some symptoms. Congenital (congenital) glaucoma is very different from this type of adult glaucoma. Since the outer tissue of the eye is very elastic in babies up to the age of 3, the increased pressure enlarges the eye, and the baby may be born with large eyes. If this is one-sided, it can be more easily noticed, but can be overlooked when it is two-sided. Family should be careful, especially in babies with unilateral big eyes. These babies have excessive watering, light discomfort and poor eye color. If these symptoms are present, they should consult an ophthalmologist immediately ”.

Prof. Dr. Ilgaz Yalvaç also stated that eye pressure measurement, which is an integral part of the ophthalmological examination, has a very important place in the diagnosis of glaucoma, but that diagnosis and treatment planning are not made only with pressure measurement, they follow the patients with other advanced methods that measure the visual field or even detect early losses in the optic nerve. stressed. Dr. Yalvaç underlined that corneal tissue is thinning, especially in people who have undergone myopic surgery, this may cause the normal measurement of eye pressure and the disease may be missed, and underlined that these patients should be more careful.

What is glaucoma?

The most important cause of glaucoma is high intraocular pressure. Under normal conditions, there is intraocular fluid, which we call "aqueous", which is continuously produced in the eye, nourishing some of our eye tissues and preserving the shape of our eyes. This fluid must leave the eye through special channels in the eye and mix into the bloodstream.

The balance between the production of aqueous fluid and its outflow creates the "normal eye pressure". This is a measurable value and has been accepted as 10-21 mmHg. Eye pressure increases as a result of the deterioration of this balance, that is, the reduction of the liquid produced outside the eye. As a result of the prolonged persistence of high pressure in the eye, it causes damage to the optic nerve.

During the increase in intraocular pressure, the patient may have no complaints, but over time, first the peripheral vision becomes narrower and then complete blindness occurs. Since the visual nerve is in a structure that cannot regenerate itself, the losses cannot be recovered with treatment, but stopping or deterioration of the disease can be prevented. Therefore, early diagnosis of this disease, which progresses without any symptoms, is very important.

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