Clarifying some concepts in glaucoma


Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that affects 2.5 % of the general population and 3.5 % over the age of 40. In addition, it is the most common cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is characterized by a progressive and accelerated loss of specialized neurons located in the retina and responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain, these are the retinal ganglion cells. As the disease progresses, and the number of these neurons decreases, we lose sensitivity in the visual field; initially in the periphery (asymptomatic phase) and, in more advanced stages, in the centre (symptomatic phase).

It is surprising that, despite the high prevalence and high socioeconomic impact and impact on the patient's quality of life, glaucoma does not enjoy the social diffusion of other degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Its asymptomatic nature (also called silent blindness) and the fact that it “only” affects vision probably contribute to this fact.

Unlike the other neurodegenerative diseases mentioned, glaucoma is a preventable disease, since we have an effective treatment to slow down and even stop the progression: Lower intraocular pressure. This is where efforts and investments have been directed so far. In the near future we will also see new strategies for early detection of the disease using artificial intelligence tools and, why not, regeneration therapies for advanced disease.

Dr. Jesús Téllez, ophthalmologist at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre


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El glaucoma es conocido como la patología ocular silenciosa ya que hasta estadios avanzados no presenta síntomas, haciendo complicada su detección y, por lo tanto, retrasando la aplicación de un tratamiento efectivo. Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud en el mundo existen unos 60 millones de personas que padecen esta patología irreversible del nervio óptico, cifra que puede seguir aumentando en los próximos años según las previsiones. En el último capítulo de este año hablamos sobre esta patología con el doctor Francisco Ruiz Tolosa, coordinador del departamento de glaucoma del Centro de Oftalmología Barraquer.