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Glaucoma: the silent thief of sight

Because of the fact that glaucoma causes slow and silent loss of vision over years, it is extremely important to undergo a comprehensive eye examination every one to two years.

With World Glaucoma Day observed on 12 March, local ophthalmologist, Dr JC de Lange is joining the cause to educate the public about this serious disease.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, accounting for 12% of all cases of total blindness globally.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is associated with increased eye pressure.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that leads to loss of sight and eventually blindness.
It causes progressive damage of the optic nerve and is characterised by death of the ganglion cells of the retina, and degeneration of their axons.
As the optic nerve is key to the transmission of information from the eye to the brain, glaucoma can result in a gradual, irreversible loss of vision, and eventually blindness.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

A person suffering from glaucoma in the early stages may not even notice loss of vision. They may experience vision loss on the sides, or periphery, or no symptoms at all.
As vision loss continues, patients may experience blind spots and eventually tunnel vision.

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an urgent appointment to consult with Dr De Lange.

Progression of glaucoma

The importance of regular eye examinations

Because of the fact that glaucoma causes slow and silent loss of vision over years, it is extremely important to pick up the disease at an early stage.
People who are at high risk for glaucoma should be screened and have a comprehensive eye examination every one to two years.

Dr De Lange specialises in the treatment of glaucoma

OCT optic nerve  scanning / evaluation can accurately diagnose and tract the progression this debilitating disease.

Glaucoma tends to run in families, so if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, encourage your family members over the age of 40 to be tested for glaucoma too.
A family history of glaucoma increases the risk by up to 20%, which means that family members of people who suffer from glaucoma are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population.

Treatment

Once a person loses vision because of glaucoma, the loss cannot be reversed. However, proper treatment can prevent further vision loss.
The first step in treatment includes prescription eye drops. If the eye drops do not work, surgery may be recommended.
Dr De Lange is a specialist in the treatment of glaucoma via surgery or other medical interventions.
As an ophthalmologist, Dr De Lange will assist patients in formulating a treatment plan according to each patient’s unique needs. Contact his practice today.

Dr De Lange has rooms in both Empangeni and Richards Bay:

  • Empangeni: Suite 3, Life Empangeni Private Hospital, c/o Ukula and Biyela Street, Empangeni. Telephone number 035 792 2200 or 035 902 8079.
  • Richards Bay: Suite 6, Bay Hospital, Krugerrand Grove, Richards Bay. Telephone number 035 789 4430 or 035 789 6166.

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