Page 4 - Sept Newsletter
P. 4

FEATURE ARTICLE

               GLAUCOMA, THE SILENT THIEF OF SIGHT


                                                                               Although World
                                                                               Glaucoma Day was
                                                                               commemorated on
                                                                               Friday, 12 March, the
                                                                               week of March 7-13,
                                                                               2021 was earmarked
                                                                               as Glaucoma Week.
                                                                               World Glaucoma
                                                                               Week is a joint global
                                                                               initiative between the
               World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association
               in order to raise awareness on glaucoma. However, since glaucoma
               affects millions of people throughout the world each year, awareness
               needs to be sustained perennially.

               But what is glaucoma? Glaucoma, which is one of the leading causes of
               irreversible blindness, is a group of eye conditions that damages the optic
               nerve, often caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eye. The optic
               nerve is the bundle of nerve fibres that transmit the visual stimuli from
               the eye to the brain. In other words, what the eyes see are
               communicated to the brain through the optic nerve. Therefore, the health
               of the optic nerve is vital for good vision.

               Essentially, there are two major types of glaucoma, namely, primary
               open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma.
               Primary open-angle glaucoma, which occurs gradually, is the most
               common type of glaucoma. With this condition, the eye does not drain
               fluid as well as it should, resulting in a build-up of eye pressure and
               consequent damage to the optic nerve. With open-angle glaucoma, there
               are no warning signs or obvious symptoms in the early stages. However,
               as the disease progresses, blind spots develop in the peripheral or side
               vision. Regular visits to an ophthalmologist would therefore assist in early
               detection of glaucoma.

               Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the iris is very close to the drainage
               angle in the eye, blocking the drainage angle. When the drainage angle is
               completely blocked, eye pressure increases rapidly. This is called an acute
               attack and warrants an emergency visit to an ophthalmologist. Symptoms
               of an attack of angle-closure glaucoma include severe pain in the eye or
               forehead, redness of the eye, decreased or blurred vision, seeing
               rainbows or halos, severe headache, and nausea.



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