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Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease which results in progressive damage to the optic nerve. The prevalence of this disease has been estimated through various studies to be in the region of 2% of the population. This rate rises considerably with age so that over the age of 80 greater than 12% of the population may be affected. Often glaucoma goes undetected until significant visual loss has occurred

What evidence is there that treatment is effective for glaucoma?
The early manifest glaucoma treatment study has shown that treatment reduces progression of disease
The ocular hypertensive treatment study showed that intra-ocular pressure reduction by 20% decreased the risk of disease progression
The advanced glaucoma intervention study showed that lower IOP is associated with reduced progression of visual field loss
The collaborative normal tension glaucoma study showed that reducing IOP by 30% reduced glaucoma progression
It is therefore very important to pick up evidence of the disease as early as possible to enable doctors to intervene before significant damage has occurred.

Do you know if you should you be screened for glaucoma?
Are you over 40 years of age?
Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with glaucoma?
Have you ever been diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes?
Is it more than 2 years since you have had a comprehensive eye test?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you should be screened.

What tests will be carried out during screening?

Visual acuity is a common ocular test routinely carried out by any ophthalmic practitioner
Intra-ocular pressure measurements
Visual field testing
Optic nerve examination and documentation

Will testing always tell me if I have glaucoma?
Often in the early stages of glaucoma it is not possible to definitively determine the diagnosis. In these cases the importance is that regular follow up occurs and treatment intervention if required

Comprehensive Consultant Eye Examination
This examination checks the health of the eye for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration.and costs €100
It may be necessary to dilate (enlarge) the pupil with drops to examine the retina fully and this may blur your vision slightly for several hours so please bear this in mind if you intend to drive soon after the examination
Patients with Private Health insurance (VHI Quinn Healthcare Aviva ) may be entitled to a rebate for all or part of this fee from their insurance company depending on the level of cover, e.g. VHI healthcare plan B entitles you to a rebate of €51 per consultant visit Book an eye examination

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