Glaucoma: To see or not to see?

Glaucoma, an incurable disease which leads to damage of the optic nerve, affects about 66 million people worldwide, about 200 000 of which are South Africans. It’s the world’s leading cause of blindness, but can be prevented if diagnosed and treated early.

Causes

Glaucoma tends to be hereditary. Increased eye pressure due to a build-up of fluids in the eye, may cause the optic nerve to deteriorate slowly. This, in turn, causes blind spots to develop within your field of vision. This can also occur with normal pressure. If left untreated, tunnel vision may develop.

Diagnosis

Visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) regularly to detect glaucoma, especially if a family member has been positively diagnosed. Glaucoma often presents without symptoms, so book an eye test every two years if you’re over 40, and every year if you’re over 60.

Bestmed covers the diagnosis of glaucoma as a chronic condition from scheme benefits across all options, so there is no excuse not to visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Prevention and treatment

Glaucoma can’t currently be prevented, nor is there a permanent cure, but it can be treated. Pressure in your eyes can be controlled with treatment. Be sure to take your treatment as recommended to help prevent deteriorating eyesight and loss of vision. Treatment may include eye drops, tablets, laser or incisional surgery, depending on the extent of damage to the optical nerve.

What Bestmed offers

Bestmed covers the medical management and treatment of glaucoma from scheme benefits according to the Regulations to the Medical Schemes Act in Annexure A. The annexure provides a list of conditions identified as Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMB) in the form of Diagnosis and Treatment Pairs.

According to Annexure A, the treatment and care of glaucoma, as with all PMB conditions, “should be based on healthcare that has proven to work best, taking affordability into consideration.” If a disagreement about treatment arises, the standards in force in the public health sector will be applied.

Book your appointment

Use the Bestmed app or login to the member portal online to book an appointment for an eye test today with a network service provider near you. Why? Because early detection of glaucoma could mean saving your eyesight.

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