The risk of Glaucoma, Is it higher among older patients?

Darkness at the dusk of life: Glaucoma amongst the Aged

 A man on the verge of his senior age is more susceptible to many diseases that come with age. Among others is the incurable glaucoma, which occurs more often at the dusk of man’s life.

“Indeed, the risk of glaucoma is higher among older patients and is a cause of worry. Not only does age become accountable to a number of other illnesses, it also becomes the cause of permanent blindness at the dusk of life,” said Dr. Biboy Martinez, vice-president of the Philippine Glaucoma Society, the recognized association of glaucoma specialists in the country.

As the number one cause of permanent blindness in the Philippines, Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which is the cable that links the eye to the brain.

Fluids in the brain maintain the constant eye pressure within the eyeball. When the fluids don’t drain properly, raised intraocular eye pressure ensues and gradually robs the elderly patient of sight.

Advancing age is a significant risk factor. Other risk factors include eye pressure, previous eye injury, diabetes mellitus, chronic steroid use and race.

Glaucoma treatment aims to preserve whatever vision remains through any or a combination of the following treatments: regular eye drops, laser surgery and conventional eye surgery.

A local study done in two Manila-based eye centers in 2001  by Dr. Patricia Khu showed that Filipinos have a high incidence of Angle Closure Glaucoma. Angle Closure Glaucoma is the deadlier kind of glaucoma compared to Open angle glaucoma, which is common among Caucasians and Europeans.

The elderly should regularly have eye exams to check if glaucoma is there. Since glaucoma affects the peripheral vision early on it would be good to be able to test this easily. You can try this easy test at home: Sit and look straight, extend your arms at your side parallel to the floor and wiggle your fingers. Can you see your fingers?

Try to pull your arms back and see how far you can see. Now, slowly move your arms toward the center. Most of people should be able to see their arms at right angles to our bodies but since people hardly check their peripheral visions, patients could gradually be losing it. (Visit for more details.)

Early detection is very effective in preventing glaucoma damage. Patients are usually unaware of the onset of the dreaded disease until they lose vision. The elderly, being at the most risk, should frequently get an eye exam to stop glaucoma on its tracks.

“We cannot prevent the onset of glaucoma especially when a patient already has it. Early detection and treatment is possible by regularly paying your eye doctor a visit,” adds Doctor Martinez.

The Philippine Glaucoma Society partnered with the globally recognized Allergan in their fight to rid the country of glaucoma with the use of education, exchange of ideas, research and publication. PGS and Allergan launched a series of campaign, projects and activities to promote their vision That no Filipino will ever go blind from glaucoma.

Glaucoma may be incurable but it should not prevent life from going on. The elderly may be at the last chapters of their lives but with early detection, they may live it without fear of losing sight of it.

1 comment:

Polly said...

our eyes is the most important part of our life it is the window of ourself, so one must not take their eye for granted, make sure that you find time to visit your eye doctor regularly. you can post your question also to this facebook page

Health & Medicine - Top Blogs Philippines