Scientific advances in gene therapy, stem cell research and artificial intelligence could all offer future treatments for glaucoma.
As swift and as silent as a black panther, the ‘sneak thief of sight’ struck. Glaucoma had been circling for some time and finally it pounced, reducing my vision and ability to see clearly. One of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness, glaucoma affects more than 60 million people globally. It is mainly caused by too much fluid pressure inside the eye, which in turn exerts pressure on the optic nerve, leading to damage. Glaucoma occurs when the nerve cells that form the optic nerve fall susceptible to the constant pressure. It cannot be cured, but in most cases it can be controlled.
I think optometrists provide an essential service in glaucoma screening and detection, monitoring stable glaucoma and recognising indicators for early ophthalmology review, providing feedback on the treatment plan and outcomes, and patient education. Optometrists play a critical role in working closely with ophthalmologists to achieve targets and adjust treatments.
Glaucoma refers to a number of conditions that have, in common, characteristic optic neuropathy leading to reduced vision and potentially, blindness. Treatment of glaucoma consists of reducing intraocular pressure (IOP) using medical, laser or surgical therapy. Most glaucoma within our community is considered mild to moderate, based on the severity of damage to the optic nerve and/ or effect on the visual field.
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There are millions of Australians involved in volunteer work, 8.7 million of them by one count. And it’s not just butchers, bakers and database makers staffing the Saturday-morning Scouts barbecue, important though that is. Some of our most highly skilled professionals take their talents to the most challenging places on the earth.