The use of electronics has increased, as untact activities rose due to COVID-19 and convenience. Electronics offers convenience, but it can result to eye disease. However, many of those in their 20s don’t know about the danger of eye disease. So, ST checks people in their 20s for eye disease. ................. Ed.
Glaucoma is known to occur mainly among the elderly, but, recently, the eye disease affecting the youth has become serious. There will be many Soongsilians who take classes on laptops or tablets, use smartphones on their way to and from school, and are exposed to blue screens all day. This is not all. Watching TV at home, lying in bed, looking at smartphones, and falling asleep while checking SNS are part of our daily lives. Currently, the aging of the eyes has accelerated as various pollution and the use of video devices all day in Korea has exploded. Therefore, senile eye diseases and degenerative eye diseases, which occur with age, are also occurring among young people.
Eye aging already begins in the 20s, and symptoms tend to begin in earnest in the 40s. Recently, symptoms may begin in earnest in the 20s. Specifically, glaucoma, which is typical among those in their 30s and 40s, is increasingly found among people in their 20s. As many refractive corrective surgeries, such as LASIK and LASEK, have been performed, they have often been detected accidentally while visiting an ophthalmologist at a young age. First, glaucoma patients have damaged optic nerves, narrowing their peripheral vision. At this time, it is a disease that can lead to blindness if not treated. However, 70% of adults are not even aware of the symptoms of glaucoma.
In 2021, Kim Ophthalmological Hospital surveyed 1,000 adults to determine the level of public awareness of glaucoma. According to the results of the survey, 89.1% of respondents said they knew about glaucoma, which was very high. On the other hand, 43.5% of the respondents said that glaucoma is a disease that can be treated by surgery, indicating that they are mistaken about glaucoma. Then, 26.2% of the respondents said they were not sure, and only 30.3% of the respondents knew exactly that it was a disease that could not be cured. Through this study, it was found that the treatment results of glaucoma were relatively unknown compared to the glaucoma recognition rate.
Glaucoma may be caused by high intraocular pressure, but even if it is in the normal range, it is caused by various causes such as large daily fluctuations in intraocular pressure, poor blood circulation to the optic nerve, or genetic abnormalities. The intraocular pressure rises when the amount of liquid called aqueous humor in the eyes increases. Considering that intraocular pressure is within the normal range, 70 to 80% of glaucoma patients in Korea have limitations in understanding the cause of glaucoma only as intraocular pressure. The symptoms of glaucoma are often expressed as "silent sight thief," because there are few subjective symptoms in the early stages, and then only after the disease progresses to a certain extent. Even if visual field damage progresses, damage to the surrounding field of vision comes first, and the central field of vision is often preserved until the end of the term. So, glaucoma is not easy to detect early through symptoms.
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to prevent the progression of optic nerve and vision damage, and improve the quality of life of the patients. Among the many risk factors involved in the progression of glaucoma, the most important and treatable risk factor is intraocular pressure. It lowers the elevated intraocular pressure so that the optic nerve is no longer damaged. It is a case where optic nerve damage easily occurs even under normal intraocular pressure because the optic nerve is also vulnerable when intraocular pressure is in the normal range. Therefore, treatment to lower intraocular pressure is considered first. Glaucoma is a neurological disease that has no cure, and requires lifelong control and management. Moreover, there is no special prevention method for glaucoma, and it is important to detect it quickly through early screening and provide early treatment.
To prevent glaucoma, it is necessary to prevent an increase in intraocular pressure. It is important to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is good to eat a diet that is low in fat and rich in vitamins, and to reduce animal fat consumption. Also, it is good to relieve psychological stress right away, and aerobic exercise and sufficient sleep are good. When you sleep well, using a pillow makes your eye pressure lower than sleeping with your head flat. Also, try not to look at video devices or books in the dark or lie on your stomach. Even clothes that are comfortable in the neck are helpful for glaucoma, and it is recommended to avoid posture where blood is concentrated in the head or exercise where abdominal pressure increases intraocular pressure.
March 12th is World Glaucoma Day, as designated by the World Glaucoma Association. Glaucoma is considered one of the three major blindness diseases. Even if glaucoma is treated, the already damaged optic nerve function cannot be reversed, and only enough treatment is possible to slow the progress of the damage. Glaucoma is no longer an elderly disease, and it has become a disease that is very close to us. The Silent Sight Thief may already be stealing our vision and running away.
Lee Yun-so (ST Reporter)