Good vision is a key factor for living a healthy happy life. The earlier we start looking after the health of our eyes, the better our chance of maintaining good vision throughout our lives. Vision problems can occur at any age. A regular eye examination with ophthalmologists is important. Good vision isn't just about well, it's about living well. One such eye infection is Glaucoma. A glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damaged the optic nerve, which is vital for good vision. Worldwide, glaucoma is a second leading cause of irreversible blindness. At Medicircle, we're conducting an awareness series on glaucoma with an eminent ophthalmologist for the world glaucoma day series to boost awareness and educate people about eye health.
Dr. Rachana Bhargava is an ophthalmologist in Mumbai and has an experience of 28 years of in this field. Dr. Rachana is a consultant ophthalmologist associated with Bhargava Eye Clinic Mumbai. She has completed MBBS from Topiwala National Medical College in 1992 and MD in Ophthalmology from the National Board of Examinations in 1995. She is also experienced in Phaco Refractive Surgery.
How Glaucoma affects the life of Patient
Dr. Rachana says, “Elevated intraocular pressure affects the optic nerve, we have about 1.2 million ganglion cells in the optic nerve. Due to the increased pressure, the blood flow to the cells is compromised, which causes damage and is an irreversible change. As the fibers die down, the visual field starts getting limited in the initial days, this is undetectable as the changes occur from the periphery. So, the patient may not be aware especially if it is in one eye because he/she can compensate with the other eye and manage. There have been cases where we have found that the patient has lost vision in one eye and they have discovered this when they have come for a regular check-up. So even though on the vision chart, they can read pretty well, this starts affecting their day-to-day activities like driving, ability to walk across the roads, etc. It is very important to diagnose especially in patients who have a family history of Glaucoma, we would advise them to go for regular checkups,” stresses Dr. Rachana.
Valuable Advice to the Patients
Dr. Rachana explains, “Once there is damage to the ganglion cell layer, this being irreversible process, we are not able to recover whatever loss has happened, instead we try to preserve the present vision. It's very difficult to make the patient understand because they don't see a remarkable improvement even after taking medicine. It's very important to understand that whatever damage is done, is not going to be salvaged. What we're trying to do is preserve the present condition by trying all our possible methods.
Putting drops regularly could be a bit of discomfort to some older patients with Arthritis which restricts their movement. But putting the drops regularly, maintaining their schedules is also important. Fluctuations in the intraocular pressure can cause the changes again. So, it is necessary not to skip a day also for putting drops. Co-morbidities like diabetes, elevated blood pressure, or myopia are also independent risk factors for glaucoma and also contribute to the raised Intraocular pressure,” emphasizes Dr. Rachana.
Advanced Customize Treatment for Glaucoma
Dr. Rachana adds, “Glaucoma is an irreversible process, early diagnosis can help to limit the damage but once the damage is done, it's not possible to reverse it. Now we have a broad spectrum of medicines available to suit every patient. Considering their other medical conditions, ease of putting drops, and age, treatment can easily be customized to suit that particular person. And in most cases, local application of eye drops and lasers helps to manage easily. One has to be very particular about putting the drops regularly on time and going for regular checkups.”
(Edited by Renu Gupta)