This progressive optic neuropathy is characterized by morphological changes, such as the excavation of the optic disk, which cause death of ganglion cells and axons of the optic nerve. The ganglion cells of the retina are the longest in neurotransmission between photoreceptors and the brain.
Gradually the visual field and other functional changes such as color perception and contrast or movement will be affected. This process is associated with the blockage of the trabecular meshwork that drains the aqueous humor and causes the intraocular pressure to rise.
The mechanisms that cause the damage of the optic nerve lie in an increase of the intraocular pressure, which is explained by the mechanical theory, in which the spaces between the sheets through, which the axons of the optic nerve passes make pressure provoking the progressive death of them and/or the affectation of the systemic circulation, causing ischemia in the vessels that irrigate the axons.
Do You Go Blind If You Have Glaucoma?
Glaucoma encompasses a family of chronic optic neuropathies characterized by causing damage at the level of the optic nerve, causing the progressive loss of the vision field. The absence of a uniform definition makes it difficult to address the impact on global health. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that glaucoma is responsible for 10% of blind people in the world.
In 2010, WHO registered 4.5 million blind people due to glaucoma and 60.5 million people affected by the disease – It is the second cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
In 2020, 80 million people affected by the disease are expected.
The current treatments are pharmacological and surgical interventions for decreasing the intraocular pressure. The development and benefits necessary to better understand and, of course, to be able to cope with this pathology is limited.
In order to understand the pathology from its beginning at the physiological, structural and functional level, as well as its progression to a state of visual impairment or blindness, it is necessary to face the disease from the beginning and have an action scheme according to the pathology as a whole.
Glaucoma is not a purely medical issue, but for its repercussion and prevalence, is also a social issue. It is a chronic and progressive disease with involvement in the visual system, main sensory system in which the human being is based for its motor, perceptive and cognitive development. It is not an isolated system, therefore, it must be borne in mind that the main consequences, as it is an illness associated with age, entail an alteration and change in the day by day of those affected.
Visual rehabilitation plays an important role in promoting the autonomy and self-esteem of these people. It is not a disease that affects only the individual who suffers, but also the environment that coexists, physically and emotionally.
The results of the performed researches provide a reference for the current clinical management, since they suppose a scientific evidence of the effectiveness and safety of the treatments in reducing the progression and risk of blindness in the initial stages of the disease. Especially inferring the need for early diagnosis, where treatments are more effective. As it is an asymptomatic process, it is usually diagnosed in advanced stages. Therefore, if we do not have good access to health services that serve as a “screening” for the population or due to the lack of social awareness of the problem of visual impairment, we are facing a society that is increasingly aging and at risk of suffering pathologies such as glaucoma, public health problem that affects either the most developed country, or the least developed.
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