Focus on glaucoma

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Glaucoma is one of the most common chronic eye conditions for people above 40 years old. It is estimated that 4,5 million persons globally are blind due to glaucoma, and this number will only rise. It is actually the second most common cause of blindness worldwide1. People who suffer from glaucoma are not always aware as the symptoms are painless and especially in the early stages don’t lead to complaints.

There are several types of glaucoma. Some may occur as a complication of other visual disorders (the so-called “secondary” glaucomas) but the vast majority is “primary”, i.e. they occur without a known cause. It was once believed that the cause of most or all glaucomas was high pressure within the eye (known as intraocular pressure – often abbreviated as IOP). It is now established however, that even people without an abnormally high IOP may suffer from glaucoma. Intraocular pressure is considered therefore today as a “risk factor” for glaucoma, together with other factors such as racial ancestry, family history, high myopia and age2.

World Glaucoma Week 2019: 10 – 16 March 2019

One of the aims of World Glaucoma week, which has kicked off on 10 March 2019, is raising awareness for the importance of regular eye (and optic nerve) checks to make sure glaucoma is detected at an early stage. Across the world different activities will take place, like screening events and lectures at (eye) hospitals. Follow the World Glaucoma week on social media through #glaucomaweek or visit the website:

Reading material

If you are interested in learning more about tonometry to monitor IOP, we would like to refer you to our article on Tonometry in optometric practice , which can be found on our Green Club website. The use of tonometry for the measurement of intraocular pressure (IOP) occupies a key position among those tests that optometrists routinely carry out in practice. Over the past 25 years elevated IOP has shifted from being an essential part of the definition of POAG to its current position where elevated IOP no longer features in modern definitions of the disease, reflecting the high proportion of those with POAG who suffer from normal tension glaucoma. Instead, elevated IOP is now regarded a major glaucoma risk factor. Accurate tonometry is the only means at our disposal to detect the important glaucoma risk factor of elevated IOP, and the only way to assess if treatment for POAG has reduced IOP sufficiently to halt the progress of the disease. This article has no accreditation for a CET point anymore, but you can obviously read the article for your own personal learning.

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