The eyes are one of the most important senses. As age advances, preserving your vision must be of utmost importance. Loss of eyesight is one of the important concerns, especially in old age. Protecting your eyes will help reduce blindness and vision loss. A glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. Combined with an aging population we can see an epidemic of blindness blooming if we don't raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.
At Medicircle, we are conducting an awareness series on Glaucoma with Eminent Ophthalmologists for the World Glaucoma Day to boost awareness and educate people about eye health.
Dr.Rita Dhamankar is Chief Medical Officer at Laxmi Eye Institute which is one of the largest chains of Eye Hospitals in India. She has a rich clinical experience of over 26 years. Dr.Dhamankar is frequently invited as a speaker and contributor at several meets on glaucoma at national and international forums. Dr. Rita is also actively involved in various drug trials for glaucoma for national and multinational companies.
Consulting an ophthalmologist is a must
Dr.Rita Dhamankar says, “Consulting an ophthalmologist depends on several conditions. If you have any symptoms or signs of eye disease, then you should consult an ophthalmologist. There are various symptoms for which you can consult an ophthalmologist:
Pain in eye The diminished vision of the eye Ocular trauma
In case of these cases, you have to immediately seek help. Regular ophthalmic examinations are taken very lightly and most people don't even bother to get their eyes examined."
Eye check-up in childhood
Dr.Dhamankar informs, “Right from the birth, the first thing that happens when the child is born is that the pediatrician performs an eye examination just to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the eye. Parents need to notice and monitor if their child has a squint, rubbing eyes frequently, or watering eyes. Before schooling and after every 5 years, the child should be examined if they have any refractive error. Then, of course, the ophthalmologist will inform them how often they need to come for an eye check-up."
Eye check-up at an older age
Dr.Dhamankar states, “ Between the age of 29 to 40, an eye check-up once in 5 years is good enough. At the age of 40, I think everybody, irrespective of whether they have a problem or not must go for a primary eye check-up. This is the time when many physiological changes take place in the eye. At the age of 40, people suddenly realize that they can't see things that are close to their eyes. This occurs due to presbyopia that sets in. so you need to get your eyes checked. After the age of 40, there are a couple of things that you need to take into consideration. So between 40 - 54, maybe you can get your eyes checked once every two or three years followed by once a year. Having said that, there are other things that you must take into consideration.
Family history of eye disease. Macular degeneration Diabetic Retinopathy Hypertensive Retinopathy Glaucoma
So all these patients suffering from eye condition must take precautions and get their eyes checked on time because an early diagnosis would lead to better treatment management for the patient and would therefore help to preserve the vision for a longer time."
Foods to eat and avoid if you are having glaucoma
Dr.Dhamankar informs., “There are no foods that can help with glaucoma. Certain food should be avoided if you have glaucoma.Coffee should be avoided as it tends to increase the IntraOcular Pressure of the eye. Binge drinking is one of the major causes of glaucoma like having 1 liter of water on waking up in the morning can increase the IOP of the eye. High consumption of water can cause a sudden spike in pressure. Healthy eating habits e.g consuming colored fruits and vegetables like dark green leafy vegetables, sprouts, beans, carrots, mangoes can help Foods rich in antioxidant fatty acids like fish, lean meat
This spike in IOP can increase the progression of glaucoma."
Glaucoma and importance of surgery
Dr.Dhamankar says, “Surgery is the last step of treating glaucoma. Glaucoma is not a curable disease. The damage to the optic nerve cannot be reversed. The vision that can be preserved must be taken care of. Good functional vision for independent life must be given top priority. In India, 90% of people with glaucoma are unaware of it. The diagnosis of glaucoma is very important. There are many medicines available now for glaucoma which can help the patients. Following the treatment for glaucoma religiously is very important. Compliance in regular follow-ups is a must. Just like diabetes and hypertension have lifelong treatment, similarly, glaucoma treatment should also be taken lifelong.”
Dr.Dhamankar informs, “ Every patient is given a prognosis depending on various parameters such as loss of vision, IOP, to help delay the progression of the disease. Glaucoma is not curable. But lifelong treatment is a must to preserve the optic nerve and further loss of vision. You cannot regain vision but retain vision.”
Dr.Dhamankar states, “There are certain risk factors which are as follows:Family history of glaucomaMyopiaUse of steroids like eye drops without doctor’s prescriptionSteroids for asthma, skin disease, an autoimmune disorder. Regular eye check-up is a must if you are consuming steroidsInjury of eyeSurgery of EyeDiabetesHypertensionAge: above 60
Preventative eye care is a must in these cases." says Dr.Rita Dhamankar(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)
Contributed by Dr.Rita Dhamankar, Chief Medical Officer at Laxmi Eye Institute