Glaucoma, an eye disease that manifests as elevation of eye pressure, causing damage to the optic nerve, is one of the world’s leading causes of blindness. During National Glaucoma Awareness Month Dr Salman Waqar, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and specialist in adult glaucoma and cataract surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, addresses the importance of taking a holistic approach that acknowledges social, spiritual and emotional factors that contribute to the disease.
Why is holistic treatment important?
“A holistic approach toward managing glaucoma is crucial because the condition can have a variety of effects on the patient’s overall quality of life.
These factors can range from struggling to keep a regular schedule of doctor’s appointments and eye drops, managing the mental stress of the diagnosis and in more advanced cases, coping with lifestyle changes – such as inability to drive – due to vision loss.
Any doctor needs to take a patient-centered approach, considering all these factors, working with the patient and creating a bespoke, workable management plan.”
How do you determine the course of treatment?
“The treatment of glaucoma has improved remarkably over the last 20 years, and we create management algorithms based on results from a variety of international research studies.
From an eye specialist’s perspective, our common go-to protocols are from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the European Glaucoma Society (EGS). All advocate the appropriate lowering the eye pressure alongside regular follow up visits to ensure vision is protected long-term.”
What different aspects need to be considered?
“In terms of treatment, the main priority is to lower the eye pressure adequately, thereby preserving vision. With the advancement of modern technology, we are truly fortunate to have a variety of treatment options to help achieve this, whether it be eye drops, gentle laser treatments or surgical options, which are often minimally invasive.
From a patient’s standpoint, the most important consideration is to maintain adherence to treatment – such as regular use of eye drops – and to remember the importance of follow up appointments.”