how to detect and treat disease that can lead to blindness

posted on 05/26/2022 15:11

  (credit: Unsplash/Disclosure)


(credit: Unsplash/Disclosure)

This Thursday (26/5), the National Day to Combat Glaucoma is celebrated, a silent and incurable disease, whose early detection allows it to be controlled with the use of resources that prevent its advancement and the consequent loss of vision. The date was created with the aim of raising awareness and alerting about this pathology, which affects about 2% of the Brazilian population. There are many people who are unaware that they have the disease and many cases that can be avoided.

THE Mail spoke with ophthalmologist Ricardo Yuji Abe, responsible for the Glaucoma sector at the Hospital Oftalmológico de Brasília (HOB), who explained a little about the disease and answered some questions. He explains that glaucoma is an eye condition that affects the optic nerve, whose integrity is essential for maintaining good quality vision. “The deterioration of the optic nerve leads to progressive loss of vision. People usually associate the disease with high intraocular pressure, but this is one of the factors. Since this condition, over the course of a few years, damages the nerve fibers of the optic nerve” , details the specialist.

“The eye contains a liquid (aqueous humor), which circulates continuously inside it. The intraocular pressure is regulated by the balance between the production and the flow of liquid present in the anterior chamber of the eye. In glaucoma, there is a decrease in the flow of this liquid. , which causes it to accumulate inside the eye, causing an increase in intraocular pressure”, continues the doctor. See answers to other common questions about the disease:

What are the symptoms of Glaucoma? Is it possible to diagnose it in a routine consultation?

In its most common form, the so-called open-angle glaucoma, which affects 80% of people, the disease evolves silently, that is, it does not burn, is painless, does not itch or bother. The patient only notices something wrong in the advanced stages, when little or nothing else can be done to save the already affected vision. The only way to detect glaucoma is with tests that analyze the integrity of the optic nerve. In the office, the ophthalmologist makes the measurement of intraocular pressure, the eye fundus examination and, when necessary, the visual field, to check if there is any damage.

Is glaucoma curable?

Glaucoma has no cure. It is a chronic disease, that is, the patient has to use the appropriate drugs throughout his life to control it or stop its progress. When untreated, the person begins to lose peripheral vision, that is, despite being able to see perfectly when looking forward, they do not clearly see the objects that are on the sides. In more advanced stages, central vision is also affected and glaucoma can progress to blindness.

How to prevent?

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), glaucoma is the largest cause of irreversible blindness in the world, and it is estimated that, by 2040, more than 111 million people will have this diagnosis. In Brazil, the pathology affects more than 900,000 individuals, according to the Ministry of Health. The saddest thing is that most cases of blindness could be avoided, it is enough to carry out regular exams with an ophthalmologist to discover the problem early on and have the appropriate treatment to maintain the integrity of vision.

What is the ideal treatment for glaucoma?

Medications such as eye drops, laser application or surgical procedures. It will depend on the recommendation of the ophthalmologist who accompanies each case. These treatments will mainly help to reduce intraocular pressure, one of the biggest risk factors for glaucoma, although the disease can also occur without high intraocular pressure, as it can be congenital, due to the use of corticosteroids or even secondary to some surgery. . However, keeping eye pressure regulated is very important.

What are the main damages of not following the treatment correctly?

Gradual and irreversible loss of vision, up to complete blindness.

Is there surgery for glaucoma? If yes, what percentage of success?

Recently, I was at the head of a large multicenter study carried out throughout Brazil, coordinated here at the Hospital Oftalmológico de Brasília, which obtained encouraging results, treating 835 eyes with the application of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). Of all participants, 88% were either able to maintain target eye pressure without using eye drops; or had a reduction in intraocular pressure; or, yet, they have reduced the number of eye drops they need to use daily. This is the first large-scale study in Latin America that brought together a large number of Brazilian patients and reinforced previous work on the effectiveness of using SLT for ocular hypertensive patients or patients with open-angle glaucoma. The study was published in the international journal Scientific Reports gives naturenow in April.

Who is in the glaucoma risk group?

People over the age of 40 with a family history, people of African or Asian ethnicity, individuals who have suffered physical injuries to the eye, those who excessively use corticosteroid medications and other medical conditions.

What advice would you give to someone with glaucoma?

In addition to a balanced diet and the practice of physical activities, it is essential to consult your eye doctor regularly, because only he will be able to detect any sign of anomaly. In the case of glaucoma, prevention is what will guarantee the patient’s quality of life.

in DF

The National Congress building lights up in green from the 21st to the 24th and from the 26th to the 31st of May, in support of the 24 Hours for Glaucoma campaign and the National Day to Combat Glaucoma.


  • The National Congress building lit up in green in support of Glaucoma Combat Day
    Najara Araújo/Chamber of Deputies

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