Glaucoma: The Silent Disease

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve of your eyes. It is caused by fluid that builds up in the front area of your eye. Glaucoma is also a hereditary disease. The disease is considered as one of the leading causes of blindness for older people.

The pressure brought by glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic never transmits images to your brain. If you let the damage persist, it can cause vision loss. If not treated, this can cause blindness in only a few years.

Most glaucoma patients do not have early symptoms. Preventing major damage brought by this disease is difficult. You can avoid this by getting regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist. It is best to have an annual eye exam if you have family history of the said disease. If you have other health problems or are at risk for other eye diseases, visit the doctor more often.

Watch the video below to learn more about glaucoma:

Causes of Glaucoma

High fluid pressure inside your eye causes glaucoma. This happens when the liquid in the front part of the eye doesnt circulate. The fluid called aqueous humor should flow out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. The liquid builds up when the channel gets blocked. Doctors may not know the cause of the blockage, but they know that this may be hereditary.

Other rare causes of glaucoma:

Severe eye infection

Blunt or chemical injury

Clogged blood vessels

Inflammatory conditions

Some surgery done to correct another eye condition

Two Major Types of Glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma

This type of glaucoma happens gradually. This is the most common type wherein your eye doesnt drain fluid very well. This causes the eye pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve. You will not feel pain and will have no vision changes during the early stages.

Some people who have sensitive optic nerves are in higher risk of getting glaucoma. If you feel pain just because of normal eye pressure, it is important that you get regular eye check-ups to find early signs of this disease.

Closed or narrow-angle glaucoma

If your iris is very close to the drainage angle of your eye, the iris may end up blocking the drainage angle. It causes this type of glaucoma. The iris and the corneas angle is too narrow that causes the eye to not drain correctly. The iris gets in the way of the process. Once the drainage gets blocked, this causes rapid eye pressure. Farsightedness and cataracts are also linked to this type of glaucoma.

Glaucoma Symptoms

Blurred vision or vision loss

Severe eye pain

Nausea or vomiting

Seeing halos around lights

Hazy looking eyes

Narrowed vision

Eye redness

Glaucoma Treatment

Prescription eye drops. This may reduce the fluid formation in your eye or will aim to increase its outflow. If you have any allergies to medicines, it is best to inform your doctor right away. This is because some glaucoma medications may affect your heart or lungs.

Some known side effects of prescription eye drops:

Allergies

Eye redness

Stinging feeling

Blurry vision

Irritated eyes

Laser surgery. This procedure increases the fluid flow from the eye. This is best for primary open-angle glaucoma patients. It will stop fluid blockage if you have closed-angle glaucoma.

These are the procedures included:

Trabeculoplasty: Drainage area is opened to allow fluid flow that causes eye pressure.

Iridotomy: A tiny hole is created in the iris to allow fluid flow.

Cyclophotocoagulation: The middle area of your eye is treated to lessen fluid production.

Microsurgery. A new channel is created in your eye when you go through trabeculoplasty. This releases eye pressure and drains fluid. A tube will be implanted to allow fluid drain. Yet, surgery may cause bleeding or infection. During worst cases, surgery may cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

Are You at Risk?

According to research, some groups of people are at higher risk of getting the disease:

Senior Age: If you are 60 years old and above, you are six times more likely to get this disease.

Steroid Users: A study was done in 1997 by the Journal of American Medical Association. Result shows that most steroid users acquire this disease.

Eye Injury: If you have had eye injuries, glaucoma may occur immediately after or years later.

Glaucoma Prevention

Only early detection and proper medical treatment can help patients control glaucoma. As of this day, there is no known way to prevent this disease.

Early detection is the key to avoid major consequences caused by glaucoma. You should have regular check-ups if glaucoma runs in the family. Also, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you prevent any kind of disease. Always be aware of the signs and never ignore the symptoms to keep your eyes healthy.

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