Regular eye pressure check-ups help detect glaucoma in time

DUBAI - When pressure inside the eye exceeds the normal limit, the disease is a called glaucoma.

By (Staff Reporter)

Published: Sat 25 Jun 2011, 10:45 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

“Our eye has an inbuilt natural pressure, similar to the blood pressure in our bodies, which is responsible for the normal shape and function of the eye. The normal range of eye pressure normally is 10-21 mm of Hg. However, due to some reasons, when the eye pressure (IOP) exceeds 22mm of Hg we start suspecting the person to have glaucoma,” said Dr. Sumeet Sukhi, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Zulekha Hospital Dubai.

Glaucoma is of two types. “While narrow angled glaucoma is related to the peculiar internal shape of the eye of an individual, the open angle most of the times is due to the ageing changes inside the angle of the eye,” he said.

“The diagnosis can be made by a simple OPD procedure called gonioscopy, in which your eye doctor inserts a small lens in your eyes and views the ‘inside’ of the angle of your eye.”

Closed angle glaucoma manifests itself as recurrent headaches, eye pain, and coloured haloes around the light and most dramatically in the form of an ‘attack’ in which the patient can have extreme eye pain, nausea and vomiting associated with temporary loss of vision.

Open angle poses more challenge to an eye doctor as it is difficult to detect in the absence of any symptom. “Unfortunately, if detected too late, it can cause irreversible damage to the eye nerve (which is responsible for our vision), thus causing greatly diminished vision over a period of time, without the patient noticing it. Therefore it is also infamously known as the ‘silent killer’ of eye,” said the doctor.

The fall is so gradual, that many a times, the patient may ignore it thinking it to be an age related vision deterioration. Therefore it is imperative that all healthy patients above 40 years of age must get themselves checked by their eye doctor every year for eye pressure check up.

Glaucoma screening is indicated for all those above 40 years of age, persons having high glass powers, persons having a family history of glaucoma, persons after a blunt trauma to the eye and all the diabetics.

It is pertinent to mention that glaucoma is known to exist in families so that the persons with a positive family history should start getting screened at 30 years of age. Surprisingly for many, glaucoma can also develop at birth. It is then known as congenital glaucoma.

Treatment of open angle glaucoma is directed towards reducing the eye pressure (intraocular pressure, IOP). With the advent of very efficacious drugs this is achieved in majority of cases but the patient needs very strict follow up.

Pressure should be checked every two months once glaucoma is diagnosed and treatment started promptly. If the medicine does not bring about the desired effect, another eye drop can be added. If the desired pressure is not achieved by drugs, then surgery to reduce eye pressure has to be performed.


Dr. Sumeet Sukhi, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Zulekha Hospital Dubai

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