Intraocular Pressure: INTERVIEW with ARTHUR BENJAMIN (part 2)
So, is it a “pseudoexfoliation pseudoinfection”?
Maybe not pseudo, because it’s still possible that it’s caused by a virus; we just don’t know. Take, for example, stomach cancer. It is the #1 killer in Japan, so the government requires mandatory testing. But Japanese that have come to the United States are at a much lower risk. Even Japanese that have lived here for a long time and move back to Japan are at a lower risk. It isn’t the food, because they eat mostly the same here.
Maybe, but Okinawa on the other hand often has centenarians. There are diseases of civilization, as well. For example, Africans have no allergies and virtually no bowel cancer.
But they have tuberculosis. Returning to glaucoma, though, the upshot is that it has a single, generally-accepted reason why it occurs…
Well, it is very complex, and that leads us to the next thing. I’m a doctor with a ton of experience treating Russian-speaking patients, and I know all the different types of glaucoma including pseudoexfoliation. Our people are susceptible to glaucoma, and particularly cataracts, so this makes the operation difficult. For many physicians that encounter “our” kind of glaucoma, it’s a complete catastrophe of complications and problems. But every other patient in our office has this kind. After many years of practice, I know how to deal with it. A man may come in with normal intraocular pressure, but I can immediately notice something’s not right. Moreover, he came from Kiev…
Is some kind of prevention possible? Maybe physical activity?
There is no way to prevent it, and time determines the extent of the damage. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment. In theory, no one in this day and age should go blind from glaucoma.
They shouldn’t, but they do.
This happens because it’s detected too late. A patient comes in and says, “I have trouble parking the car without running into something,” and this usually means neglected glaucoma. We need to start treatment, even before visible symptoms appear. In order to diagnose glaucoma at these earlier stages, special machines are required that can detect problems 7-8 years earlier than is possible in other offices.
7-8 years… that’s serious.
It’s very serious. People can take a test that says they will have Alzheimer’s. But what can you do about it? Nothing. However, if your eyes have a problem, there is something you can do! You’re armed with knowledge and can follow the doctor’s recommendations – then, when your intraocular pressure rises, have it treated. Thus, you can alter your own destiny.
Staring at a computer screen all day – is that a factor?
Vision is a passive process, whether you’re writing a novel on the computer, knitting, or sewing. The feeling of fatigue is the drying of the eyes, and they start to tear up, redden, tingle, or burn. This is because you blink less, whether you’re looking at a monitor or a seam. Instead of 10-15 times per minute, only 5-6 times.
So in order to avoid fatigue, you need to blink more often?
Sure, but don’t neglect going to the doctor. As I’ve said many times before, a patient’s potential is limited by the doctor’s education, experience, and equipment. And there’s only one place in the world that has the newest and best… I’m kidding, but one of those places is our office, where your problems will be treated with the utmost seriousness. Benjamin Eye Institute is one of only two places with electroretinography, which objectively measures the functionality of the optic nerve: how well it transmits light and at what speed, along with a whole series of other parameters. It’s a test that can tell you if you’ll have glaucoma in 7 years or not.
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