Glaucoma is the number one cause of irreversible blindness in the world

Glaucoma affects approximately 10% of the population and up to 50% of cases in Singapore are undiagnosed, meaning that the patient does not know that they have the disease. Glaucoma is the name given to a number of eye conditions where patients lose their sight due to damage to the optic nerve. It is the second largest cause of general blindness in the world. Cataracts are the number one cause, but in the case of cataracts, a simple surgical procedure can remove the cataract and restore sight to the patient. In glaucoma however, any damage to the optic nerve is permanent.

Because glaucoma in its early stages can have very little or no effects on vision, and sufferers may have no symptoms, many people may have the disease without knowing it. Even when vision starts to be lost, the progress can be very faint and slow. By the time the patient realises that something is wrong they may have already suffered a significant amount of permanent loss of vision.

Asians are more at risk to certain types of glaucoma than other populations. Here are a number of other risk factors which indicate whether you are at risk of having glaucoma.

  • Gender: In Asia women are more at risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma

  • Age: Being over the age of 40, although infants and children can also get glaucoma. Do not ignore symptoms at any age

  • Diabetes: A chronic condition quite common in Singapore

  • Myopia or hyperopia (being short-sighted or long-sighted)

  • Family: Having any family members who have had glaucoma

  • Any previous eye injuries or eye surgeries

  • Extremely low or extremely high blood pressure

  • Raised pressure in the eye

  • Steroid use, for example in skin creams or other medical treatments

It is critical that the diagnosis of glaucoma is made as early as possible, and that correct treatment is implemented to manage the disease in order to protect and preserve whatever vision remains.

Most treatments for glaucoma, whether through medicine in eye drops, or through surgery, are aimed at reducing pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure).

Click on the links below to learn more about the condition, its symptoms, causes and treatments available.

Telemedicine for Glaucoma – The New Normal

Glaucoma in Singapore: Stats, Risk Factors and Prevention

Glaucoma, Is Genetic Mutation a Cause?

Study by SNEC and SERI May Help Detect Insidious Form of Glaucoma Earlier

SNEC Leads Multi-national Clinical Trial to Evaluate Optimum Surgery for Glaucoma in Asia

 

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Ref: L20