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In relation to World Glaucoma Week (7 to 13 March), we at Miranza have organised a series of online chats for our ophthalmologists and patients. Available in real time on Instagram from Sunday onwards. The purpose is to raise awareness of this silent eye disease. Half of those with glaucoma are unwitting sufferers, as the disease progresses without symptoms until the damage is severe, provoking irreversible loss of vision.

Regular check-ups for early diagnosis

The patient testimonies to be offered by Miranza underscore the importance of early diagnosis of glaucoma. Regular ophthalmic check-ups are absolutely necessary, especially from 40 years of age onwards, which is when the disease is more likely to appear. Nonetheless, glaucoma may also affect the young, such as chat participant Marta de la Torre, who was diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma at just 12 years of age.

Genes are among the most relevant factors that may predispose us to suffer glaucoma, hence the importance of determining whether or not one has a family history of the disease. Several members of Marta’s family have contracted glaucoma. José Luis Ocio, another patient who is to take part in the chat, informs us that all his children “are safe for now” because they have adhered rigorously to a regime of preventive check-ups since he was diagnosed with the disease.

His Miranza Begitek ophthalmologist Dr Haritz Urcola explains, “The check-ups are not only about measuring intraocular pressure, which is the main risk factor of glaucoma. Thin corneas such as those of José Luis and his children may result in variation of the measurement and underdiagnosis of the disease’s damage to the optic nerve.” Herein lies the importance of complete and specialised ocular examinations that, through supplementary testing, also allow professionals to determine the disease’s rate of progression in each patient and to take action accordingly.

Promoting personalised monitoring and treatment

Personalised diagnosis of glaucoma is just as important as personalised monitoring and treatment of the disease. In this sense, Dr María Jesús Chaves, a Vissum Grupo Miranza specialist, points out, “We typically receive patients who aren’t examined often enough and are under medical treatment that no longer adequately protects them from the disease or prevents the progression of visual loss.” This was the case of Eugenio Jiménez, whose glaucoma progressed undetected to an advanced state, at which point he woke up one morning blind in one eye and had to give up driving because the damage was irreparable. When he entrusted his care to Dr Chaves, Eugenio was unaware that the visual field of his other eye was also affected.

World Glaucoma Week: patient testimonies

The importance of complying with the prescribed treatment (at the onset, usually in the form of eye drops for glaucoma that are to be applied daily) is among the key factors that the Miranza experts will speak of in the chat with their patients, who will relate their first-hand experiences of dealing with the chronic eye disease.

The discussions will also address the subject of glaucoma surgery, for which there are several techniques that are becoming less and less invasive. Surgery is an option that some patients prefer to avoid or postpone. However, the testimonies of Miranza’s Instagram chat will reflect the benefits of undergoing such procedures (which may sometimes be combined with cataract surgery) and the ensuing improvement of quality of life. Many patients experience a highly positive change after the elimination or reduction of the need for daily application of eye drops, which may lead to problems of irritation and inflammation of the ocular surface in the long term.

Additionally, surgery is sometimes the only effective way to keep intraocular pressure stable and to slow down glaucoma while conserving the rest of useful vision to the greatest possible extent. “Even in severe and complex cases in which glaucoma leads to legal blindness, maintaining a certain amount of visual acuity and visual field may make a highly significant difference in the everyday lives of patients”, concludes Miranza IOA ophthalmologist Dr Aitor Fernández.

Eduardo Pérez, the last of the affected chat participants, is a sport fan and athlete despite the low vision he suffers due to glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. He is a clear example of how to overcome visual impairment.

Chats scheduled in relation to World Glaucoma Week

  • Domingo, 7 de marzo, 19.00 h: Marta de la Torre / Dr. Aitor Fernández (Miranza IOA)
  • Martes, 9 de marzo, 19.30 h: Eugenio Jiménez / Dra. M. Jesús Chaves (Vissum Grupo Miranza)
  • Viernes 12 de marzo, 19.00 h: José Luis Ocio / Dr. Haritz Urcola (Miranza Begitek)
  • Domingo, 14 de marzo, 19.00 h:Eduardo Pérez / Dra. Carlota Fuente (Miranza IOA)