Glaucoma is Silent thief of sight. March 8-14 is observed as “world Glaucoma Awareness week” – an important time to spread awareness about Glaucoma, often called the “silent thief of sight”. Regarded as one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness, glaucoma is a group of eye condition that damage the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain. This optic nerve damage often caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eyes may result in partial vision loss or blindness.
There are different forms of glaucoma and many forms have no specific warning symptoms. The effect is so gradual that people may not notice a visible change in vision until the condition reaches an advanced stage. As vision loss due to this condition can’t be recovered, it is important to carry out regular eye exams that include measurement of eye pressure. Regular eye exams help in identifying the condition in its early stages so that appropriate treatment can be initiated to slow/prevent the progression of the condition. Ophthalmologists offering treatment for different forms of glaucoma need to ensure that the medical billing and coding for the same is done appropriately on their medical claims. Relying on the services of an established medical billing company can ensure timely claim filing and correct reimbursement.
Glaucoma can occur at any age, but is more common among older adults, above the age group of 60 years. The disease usually affects both eyes, although one may be more severely affected than the other. The condition is often called “the silent thief of sight” since there are no visible symptoms and once vision is lost, it is permanent. In fact, about 40 percent of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Other related visible symptoms that occur vary depending on the type and stage of your condition and include – blurred vision, severe headache, eye pain, eye redness, patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, halos around the eyes and tunnel vision in the advanced stages.
Diagnosis of this eye condition may begin with a detailed review of patient medical history and a comprehensive eye examination. Ophthalmologists may perform several tests like – tonometry (measuring intraocular pressure), visual field test (checking for areas of vision loss), pachymetry (measuring corneal thickness), gonioscopy (inspecting the drainage angle) and testing for optic nerve damage with a dilated eye examination and imaging tests. Even though the damage caused to the optic nerve cannot be reversed, regular eye exams and treatment can help slow or prevent vision loss, particularly if the disease is detected in its early stages.
Initial treatment for this condition may focus on lowering the eye pressure (intraocular pressure). Treatment modalities include – prescription eye drops (Prostaglandins, beta blockers, Alpha-adrenergic agonists), oral medications, and surgery or a combination of any of these. Surgery and other therapies are performed to improve the drainage of fluid within the eye, thereby lowering pressure. These options include – laser therapy, drainage tubes, filtering surgery and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).
By the time glaucoma symptoms do appear, it may be too late to save those affected from suffering permanent vision loss.” Vision lost cannot be regained, which is why it is so important to protect your sight by receiving a comprehensive, dilated exam performed by a eye doctor, during which glaucoma can be diagnosed early. Although glaucoma is not preventable and has no current cure, it can be controlled if diagnosed and treated early.
Shridevi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Hospital,