2016-06-23 06:00

GLAUCOMA is the second leading cause of blindness in South Africa.

The blindness in glaucoma results from progressive damage to the optic nerve (nerve at back of the eye that transmits signal to the brain). The progressive damage of glaucoma can be slowed down through early detection and treatment.

However despite this, there is still a large number of patients that go blind from glaucoma because of late detection due to:

a) Glaucoma is a silent disease, not producing symptoms until late in the disease process.

b) Patients being unaware of risk factors for glaucoma eg: family history of glaucoma/blindness/Increased eye pressure, increasing age, race, near sightedness etc.

c) Erroneously thinking that a normal eye pressure test excludes glaucoma NB: In a large number of instances glaucoma occurs at normal eye pressures. Only on optic nerve examination together with visual field assessments by an eye specialist is required to make the appropriate diagnosis.

Treatment modalities offered to patients include: eye drops, laser and surgery.

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