Eye pressure a major cause of optic nerve damage – Optometrist

An Optometrist, Dr. Emelike Prince-Henry, says consistent eye pressure is a major risk factor in optic nerve damage.

Prince-Henry of the Beatitudes Kidney and Eye Foundation made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Kaduna.

“In the front of the eye is a space called the anterior chamber.

“A clear fluid flows continuously in and out of the chamber and nourishes nearby tissues.

“The fluid leaves the chamber at the open angle where the cornea and iris meet. When the fluid reaches the angle, it flows through a spongy meshwork, like a drain, and leaves the eye.

“Here, even though the drainage angle is open, the fluid passes too slowly through the meshwork drain.

“Since the fluid builds up, the intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye) rises to a level that may damage the optic nerve.

“When the optic nerve is damaged from increased pressure, open-angle glaucoma and vision loss may result. That’s why controlling pressure inside the eye is important,” he said.

The optometrist added that the increased pressure can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images
to the brain.

“If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision.

“Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.”

Prince-Henry said the peculiarity of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma is that “it presents with no symptoms, thus a person could have it and not know till a lot of damage has been done.

“The damage here is irreversible just like in all other types of glaucoma. Glaucoma for now has no reversible cure, hence the need for early detection.”

He said with early detection and treatment, one can often protect his eyes against such serious vision loss.

“Have you ever heard that or seen someone that slept and woke up blind? I mean a person who was seeing ‘well’ the previous day?

“Unfortunately, many people in this part of the world will start attributing it to some
witchcraft or juju; well, that’s a typical case of Glaucoma.

“Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.

“However, with early detection and treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.”

The 0ptometrist advised the media to embark on amplified sensitization and awareness campaigns in  rural communities on glaucoma.

“Since glaucoma can affect people of all ages, it is expedient that all and sundry understands its severity; hence the need to keep sounding the trumpet louder – GET YOUR EYES.”(NAN)

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