What Do You Need to Know about Glaucoma?
You should know that this eye ailment is dangerous if not treated on time. Glaucoma affects the optic nerve putting tremendous pressure on it. It happens because the inner pressure of the eye increases. It is known as intraocular pressure which increases when the fluid present in the eye does get drained out. This condition occurs regardless of age and gender but registered cases so far have shown that glaucoma hits elderly more than the young crowd.
This article is all about knowing glaucoma and its causes, symptoms and treatment options. Many people are ignorant about this eye issue and this causes late diagnosis where the disorder reaches to the stage where preventing blindness becomes difficult. Let’s getthe better idea about glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Basically, glaucoma can be defined as the disorder of the optic nerve. This is the important nerve that sends signals to the brain and helps us see the beautiful world around us. In this condition, as mentioned earlier, the intraocular pressure increases putting extreme pressure on the optic nerve. It is characterized by a subtle loss of vision which increases if left untreated for longer period of time. A person loses central vision and ultimately becomes blind if glaucoma is not treated on time.
In certain cases, onset of glaucoma is not associated with increased intraocular pressure. Glaucoma can be present even if the internal eye pressure is normal and this is caused due to poor blood flow to the optic nerve. The best and easy way to locate glaucoma is periodic eye checkups.
Causes of glaucoma
The exact cause of this eye issue is still in the dark. According to some studies, the issue arises when the optic nerve is deprived of oxygen and nutrients due to poor flow of blood to it. In certain cases, the increased internal eye pressure is the reason why people suffer from this eye ailment.
One might become a victim of glaucoma because of old age or the eye issue might be running in his family. Regardless of its causes, it is important to get your eyes checked periodically especially if you are in your late 50s or you have parents or any close family member battling with glaucoma.
Risk factors for glaucoma
Glaucoma increases your risk of developing blindness if the condition is not being treated on time. The eye ailment does not show any warning signs as well and this is the reason, in most of the cases, glaucoma remains behind the scenes. As mentioned earlier, early detection and awareness are the two keys to keep your eye sight protected from this eye issue. The risk factors for glaucoma are:
Reduced corneal thickness and increased rigidity
Family history or eye issues due to increased intraocular pressure
Excess use of steroids for eye injuries
History of eye injuries or disorders
If you have any of these issues, your chances of developing glaucoma increase. You need to be extra careful if you experience any changes in your vision.
Types of glaucoma
Majorly, glaucoma is classified into two main types – open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure (closed angle) glaucoma. This eye issue generally affects both the eyes but it usually starts by affecting one eye and slowly it affects the second eye as well.
Open angle glaucoma – being the most common type of glaucoma, it affects the elderly. Due to aging, the drainage system of eye becomes poor causing the fluid to build up inside the eye. It leads to a tremendous increase in eye pressure which further affects the optic nerve. If not treated on time, it becomes the reason for blindness.
Angle-closure (closed angle) glaucoma – It is a less common form of glaucoma in western countries but it is more common in Asian countries. In this condition, the intraocular pressure is normal but it elevates suddenly. This sudden elevation in the eye pressure causes damaged optic nerve which further leads to blindness.
Symptoms of glaucoma
Generally, the eye issue shows no symptoms at all at the initial stage. However, some patients experience side vision loss, hazy vision and see haloes around lights. This sign is prominent in the morning. Along with these symptoms, one also experiences vomiting, nausea, headache, and pain in the eye.
Unfortunately, no medication can reverse the damage happened to the optic nerve and vision loss cannot be recovered. However, special eye drops are prescribed to control further damage. Surgery is the second option which is done either in traditional way or laser.