What kind of disease is glaucoma that many eye centers and hospitals are warning us about? WHO says it is the No 2 cause of blindness worldwide after cataracts. Glaucoma attacks the optical nerve and causes chronic and progressive deterioration. The disease is diagnosed by testing eye pressure. While blindness caused by cataracts is generally curable, this is not the case with glaucoma. “People who have glaucoma have to undergo lifetime treatment to avoid blindness,” said Dr. Iwan Subijantoro, SpM, of the Jakarta Eye Center (JEC).
The vision of people with glaucoma usually deteriorates over time due to disruption to the optic nerve as indicated by elevated eye pressure. Glaucoma attacks people 40 years old and over. The disease can be inherited from parents or grandparents.
Using steroids, such as certain eye drops, asthma inhalers and rheumatism or arthritis medicines, can make a person susceptible to the disease. Those with severe cases of myopia and hypermethropia, diabetes melitus, hypertension or migraine can also develop glaucoma.
Regular eye screening is recommended. “At JEC we have a special glaucoma center to prevent blindness where possible,” said Iwan. To ensure regular care, JEC offers memberships under which patients are given consultation reminders in line with the spirit of “prevention is better than cure”. (Dijan Subromo)
The Jakarta Post, March 25, 2009