TOO much stress and exposure to chemical forces can also lead to blindness, the Philippine Glaucoma Society (PGS) reported.
PGS research committee member Dr. Ranier Covar said that stress and exposure to chemical forces can damage the optic nerve and can lead to blindness or what we called Glaucoma.
The optic nerve is the cable in the eye that transmits what people see to their brain.
“Any damage to the optic nerve will lead to blindness,” Covar added.
According to PGS vice president Dr. Jose M.G. Martinez, glaucoma has no symptoms or the indications of blindness are very subtle.
This is because the vision loss starts at the edges of the visual field, or what is called peripheral vision and occurs gradually.
With its subtle indication, both Martinez and Covar and the rest of the members of PGS advised the public to undergo their regular eye examination to avoid loss of vision.
“There is still no cure for glaucoma, but blindness due to glaucoma is preventable, if screened and detected early,” Martinez said.
Glaucoma is a group of disease that progressively removes the sense of sight as it causes gradual destruction of the optic nerve, which is the cable that connects the eye to the brain.
When the optic nerve is damaged, it will result in shrinking of the visual field, which leads to permanent blindness.
“In many cases, the vision of patients who have Glaucoma is almost like looking through a pinhole,” Martinez said.
According to the third National Survey of Blindness, glaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness in the Philippines, after cataract and refractive error.
The subtle symptoms are: eye pain, blurred vision, redness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and seeing rainbows around lights.
Individuals who are at risk with acquiring glaucoma are those older persons 45 years old and above, and persons with elevated intraocular pressure or eye pressure, family history of glaucoma, previous eye injury, chronic steroid use, diabetes mellitus, and people of Chinese ancestry.
“These persons should have themselves screened for glaucoma by an ophthalmologist,” Martinez advised.
Glaucoma is treated through eye drops, conventional surgery and laser surgery.
To further generate awareness on the disease, the Philippine Glaucoma Society (PGS) and the Philippine Glaucoma Foundation recently celebrated nationwide the fourth World Glaucoma Week, aiming to disseminate information on the risk factors, as well as the causes and effects of the disease, while focusing on the importance of early glaucoma prevention.
It also aimed to enhance the skills of ophthalmologists in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma and to provide assistance to indigent glaucoma patients. (SDF/Sunnex)