Glaucoma consultation at the University Eye Hospital Bern

General information about glaucoma
Glaucoma is a very heterogeneous group of chronic diseases of the eye, which are often but not always associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP). The prevalence of glaucoma in adults >40 years of age lies between 2-4% depending on cultural background. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide after cataract.
During the course of glaucoma, there is a progressive loss of nerve cells (retinal ganglion cells), which are located in the retina of the eye. The retinal ganglion cells have processes (axons) that join together in the optic nerve to leave the eye in a bundle. The optic nerve transmits the signals generated by inciting light in the retina to the brain, where, after further processing, the image seen by the eye is formed in the consciousness of the observer. If these retinal ganglion cells are lost in the course of glaucoma, defects in the visual field develop, which are usually localized paracentrally in the beginning, but increase in size during the course of time and can remain unnoticed for a long time. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness in one or both eyes.
The reduction of intraocular pressure is the only known risk factor, which can be positively influenced by medication or surgery. Up to now, there are no therapeutic possibilities to repair damages that have occurred in the course of glaucoma. At best, a further progression of the disease can be slowed down or at best stopped. Furthermore, in many cases the course of the disease is usually asymptomatic for a long time. Therefore, from the age of 40 - 50 years, regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist are recommended in order to detect a possible glaucoma at an early stage. The earlier glaucoma is detected, the better it can be treated in most cases, so that functional blindness, which used to be very common, can fortunately be averted in most glaucoma cases today.