In the early stages of glaucoma, the brain compensates so that vision is similar to that of a non-affected person. Frequent eye tests are essential to prevent a complete loss of vision.
It is possible to have glaucoma without knowing it. According to a study by the University of Bradford (UK), vision is similar to that of a person who was not affected at the beginning of the disease. In Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers explain that the brain compensates for the visual deficit and makes the pathology imperceptible, except in the case of a medical diagnosis.
No difference between the two groups of patients
For their study, they recruited 40 participants, half of whom had early to moderate glaucoma. The vision tests were conducted with shapes placed on a screen. The researchers explained that the participants with glaucoma saw the same images as the others: The perceived contrast levels were the same. This is critical because glaucoma reduces the ability to perceive contrast. According to the study, the brain is able to compensate for damage to the optic nerve and enable patients to see without damage.
Frequent check-ups crucial
“This highlights the importance of regular eye exams,” says Jonathan Denniss, the study’s director, “to detect glaucoma before it causes irreversible damage. In his opinion, it’s important to have regular check-ups even when there are no symptoms. “I always find it strange that dental or oral examinations are considered normal, but eye examinations are not. In the US, health insurance companies recommend regular eye visits to check for glaucoma, but also for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve that connects the brain to the eye. Initially, only peripheral vision is affected. If left untreated, the disease can gradually lead to a complete loss of vision. However, medication can stop or slow down the deterioration of vision. It usually occurs in people over 45 years of age.