Glaucoma, often known as “the silent thief of sight,” affects around 60 million people worldwide. In the Philippines alone, around 6 percent of adults older than 40 are affected by this eye condition, highlighting the pressing nature of this issue in the country.
II. Understanding Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, gets damaged. This damage is often caused due to high eye pressure but can happen even if the eye pressure is normal. Over time, as the optic nerve becomes more damaged, blank spots begin to appear in your field of vision.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma: The most common form, it develops slowly over time.
- Angle-closure glaucoma: Less common, it can rapidly develop eye problems.
III. Glaucoma Diagnosis
The diagnosis of glaucoma can be a complex process. It typically begins with an eye examination that might include measures of eye pressure, tests of peripheral vision, and exams of the optic nerve.
In the Philippines, eye doctors, known as ophthalmologists, perform these tests. When you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s common to have a range of emotions. However, remember that the goal now is to prevent further vision loss and manage the disease effectively.
IV. Glaucoma Treatment in the Philippines
Once diagnosed, various glaucoma treatments are available in the Philippines, ranging from medication to surgical procedures. Medications like eye drops are often used as a first line of defense to help reduce the production of intraocular fluid. If medications do not suffice, laser procedures or surgeries like trabeculectomy may be considered.
Although the cost of glaucoma treatment can be high, many public and private insurance policies cover part of the expense.
V. Day-to-Day Living with Glaucoma
Living with glaucoma can be challenging but manageable, with a few lifestyle adjustments. Regular use of prescribed medication, frequent check-ups, stress management, and healthy diet and exercise can play a significant role in controlling glaucoma progression.
Glaucoma can also affect daily activities like reading and driving. Using aids like magnifying glasses, adjusting home lighting, or relying on public transport can help.
VI. Glaucoma and Mental Health
The emotional impact of a glaucoma diagnosis can be significant. It is essential not to overlook your mental well-being in this journey. Support groups, counseling, and general mental health care can provide immense help.
There are several ophthalmologists and eye centers across the Philippines specializing in glaucoma treatment. The Philippine Glaucoma Society offers a directory of such specialists. Online platforms like Eyecare-Philippines and health care centers provide support groups where you can connect with people facing similar challenges.
While a glaucoma diagnosis may be overwhelming, remember that with early detection, appropriate treatment, and lifestyle adjustments, you can still lead a full and active life. Always keep these words in mind: “Glaucoma changes your life, not your living!”