Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying visual information from the eye to the brain. It is often referred to as the "silent thief of sight" because it can cause permanent vision loss without any symptoms.
Types of Glaucoma:
There are several types of glaucoma, but the two most common are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, accounting for around 90% of the cases. In this type of glaucoma, the drainage angle of the eye becomes less efficient over time, leading to an increase in intraocular pressure. On the other hand, angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the iris is too close to the drainage angle, blocking the outflow of aqueous humour and causing a sudden increase in intraocular pressure.
Causes of Glaucoma:
The are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing this disease, but the exact cause for the occurrence is not known. The risk factors include:
- Age: With increasing age, the risk of developing Glaucoma increases.
- Family History: You are at a higher risk of developing Glaucoma, if you have a family member who already has it.
- Race: African, Asian & Hispanic descent people are at a higher risk of developing Glaucoma.
- Medical Conditions: If you’re suffering from certain medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases, you are more likely to develop Glaucoma.
- Eye Conditions: Eye conditions such as near-sightedness (Myopia), farsightedness (Hyperopia) and a history of eye injuries can increase the risk of Glaucoma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma:
In the early stages, Glaucoma usually has no symptoms. As the disease progresses, it can cause peripheral vision loss, which may go unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage. Some symptoms of Glaucoma may include:
- Blurred Vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye Pain
- Redness in the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting (Majorly in the Angle-Closure Glaucoma Cases)
Diagnosis of Glaucoma:
Regular eye check-ups are essential for the early detection and treatment of Glaucoma. During an eye exam, your eye doctor (Ophthalmologist / Optometrist) will check your intraocular pressure, examine the optic nerve, and test your peripheral vision. If the doctor suspects that you have Glaucoma, they might perform additional tests such as a visual field test, gonioscopy, or imaging tests.
Treatment of Glaucoma:
The goal of treatment for glaucoma is to lower the intraocular pressure and prevent further damage to the optical nerve. Treatment options may include eye drops, oral medications, laser therapy or surgeries. Eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma and work by reducing the production of aqueous humour or increasing its outflow. If eye drops alone are not enough to lower the intraocular pressure, your doctor may recommend oral medications or laser therapy. In more advanced cases, surgery may be necessary to improve the outflow of the aqueous humour.
In conclusion, glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can cause irreversible vision loss if left untreated. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing further damage to the optical nerve. If you are at risk for glaucoma, it is essential to have regular eye check-ups and follow your doctor's recommendations for treatment and monitoring.
This World Glaucoma Day, get your eyes checked proactively and be ahead of the serious eye disease that if ignored, can cause you to lose your eyesight.Back