Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, the nerve responsible for carrying images from your eyes to the brain, which is progressive and permanent. It is one of the common reasons for acquired blindness. In most cases, it is attributed to the build-up of pressure inside the eye. However, it does not always make an announcement before the symptoms strike. Find out how you can protect your eyes here.
Who is at risk of developing glaucoma?
Glaucoma is more frequently seen above the age of 40, but in rare cases may be present at birth or in people of younger age. Certain people are more prone to get the condition, and include those with:
- Age over 40
- Chronic steroid intake
- Any trauma to the eyes
- Family history
- Poor vision
- Certain ethnicities like African American, Japanese, Scandinavian and Hispanic
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Unfortunately, the build-up of pressure in the eyes can be present for a long time without any symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, the damage may have already progressed far. Hence, it is important to have your eyes checked regularly. Some of the symptoms, when they appear, are:
- Seeing halos around lights
- Narrow visual fields or tunnel vision
- Redness of eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
- Visual loss
What can you do about glaucoma?
Glaucoma cannot be prevented. But once detected, there are several treatments available that can halt the progress of the disease. Once damage has occurred, though, it cannot be reversed.
Medicines: Pills and eye drops that lower your intraocular pressure are the preferred treatment in most cases. These must be taken regularly, and they act either by preventing fluid synthesis or hastening clearance of the fluid circulating within the eye.
Laser surgery: This uses laser technology to cut through the trabecular network of the eye – a meshwork system involved in draining fluid in the eyes. It thus helps maintain easy flow of the aqueous humor.
Conventional microsurgery: Using surgical instruments, this technique involves manually creating an opening through which the aqueous humor can pass.
Your doctor may suggest one or a combination of some of the above treatments depending on the type of glaucoma, its severity and progression.