Early detection of glaucoma | consumer center.de

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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The clinical picture of glaucoma

O glaucoma belongs to most common causes of blindness. The term means various eye diseases in which the optic nerve is damaged. In Germany, around 2% of people over 40 and up to 4% of people over 65 are affected.

Optic nerve damage leads to gradual loss of vision. Nerve fibers die, usually unnoticed. Complaints such as restrictions in the field of vision occur more frequently when the disease has already progressed. In the worst case scenario, glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Early detection of glaucoma: how much does health insurance pay?

O Early detection of glaucoma consists of examination of the eye with a slit lamp microscope, special examination of the optic nerve and measurement of intraocular pressure. If glaucoma is suspected, doctors will also measure the visual field. This allows you to determine whether certain areas of vision are restricted and whether blind spots have already emerged.

O Legal health insurance companies cover the costs early detection of glaucoma if justified suspicion of illness if there is glaucoma or if there are certain risk factors (for example, prolonged cortisone intake or eye damage due to diabetes). The treating doctors may also charge for the examination at the expense of the statutory health insurance if a follow-up examination is necessary to monitor progress.

It’s worth asking your doctor or health insurer. Early detection of pure glaucoma, intended for healthy people without symptoms, is not paid for by health insurers.

Why is early detection charged?

According to analyzes by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare (IQWiG), it is not yet possible to assess with certainty the benefits of early detection in general, as there are currently no significant studies.

The IGeL monitor also reaches this assessment, which classified ophthalmoscopy with intraocular pressure measurement, HRT, OTC and intraocular pressure measurement for early detection of glaucoma as “tends to be negative” – for the same reason: there is no significant studieswhich examined whether the tests really help prevent people from seeing worse or even going blind.

If a general early detection exam (Screening) makes sense from a certain age or for certain risk groups, until now not yet sufficiently investigated. The European Glaucoma Society states in its fifth guideline in October 2021 that “(…) although there are numerous comparable diagnostic studies, (it) has not been established which test or which combination of tests determines the results for (…) (patients) at reasonable costs “This is why health insurance companies only pay for early detection of glaucoma in justified individual cases.

IGeL: Do not sign consent at reception!

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