Complete Guide on Glaucoma:
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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an array of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits visual information from the eye to the brain and is essential for normal eyesight. High eye pressure is frequently associated with optic nerve damage. However, even with normal eye pressure, glaucoma can occur.

Most people acquire this in both eyes, however, the condition may be worse in one at first. With open-angle glaucoma, one eye may be severely damaged while the other is just mildly affected. People who have one eye affected by closed-angle glaucoma have a 40% to 80% likelihood of developing the same type of glaucoma in the other eye within five to ten years.

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There are two major types of glaucoma

This is the most prevalent form of glaucoma. It happens gradually, with the eye not draining fluid as well as it should. As a result, ocular pressure rises, threatening the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and initially causes no vision abnormalities.

It is sometimes referred to as “narrow-angle glaucoma” or “closed-angle glaucoma. This type occurs when an individual’s iris is very close to the drainage angle of their eye. The iris has the potential to obstruct the drainage angle. Consider it as a piece of paper falling down a wash basin drain. When the drainage angle becomes blocked, ocular pressure rapidly rises, this is known as an acute attack. 

Causes

It can occur without a known cause, but it can be affected by a variety of factors. The most significant of these variables is intraocular eye pressure. Aqueous humor, a fluid produced by your eyes, nourishes them. This liquid travels to the front of your eye via your pupil. The fluid leaves your eye through the drainage channels positioned between your iris and cornea in a healthy eye.

It causes an increase in resistance in your drainage tubes. Because the fluid has nowhere to go, it accumulates in your eye. This extra fluid puts strain on your eye. This increased eye pressure can eventually damage your optic nerve and cause glaucoma.

Symptoms

Most people with open-angle glaucoma don’t have symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they usually do so towards the end of the illness. Due to this, it is frequently referred to as the “sneak thief of vision.” Usually, peripheral vision, or side vision, is lost. Source

Angle-closure glaucoma symptoms frequently appear sooner and are more noticeable. Damage can occur quickly. Get medical help if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Vision loss
  • Redness in your eye
  • Eye that appears foggy (especially in infants)
  • Vomiting or stomach upset
  • Eye pain

Risk factors

It can affect anyone. However, some individuals are more susceptible than others. Glaucoma risk factors include:

  • For people of African heritage, glaucoma is the main cause of blindness.
  • People above the age of 60 are more likely to get glaucoma.
  • People with a glaucoma family history are more likely to develop the disease, especially if they have a sibling who has the disease.
  • People who have high intraocular fluid pressure are more vulnerable.
  • Decreased corneal thickness. People with thinner corneas are more likely to get glaucoma.

Diagnosis

A comprehensive eye exam is the only certain approach to diagnose it. A glaucoma screening that merely assesses ocular pressure is insufficient for detecting it.

During a glaucoma exam, your ophthalmologist will do the following:

  • Check your eye pressure
  • Examine the drainage angle of your eye.
  • Check your optic nerve for injury.
  • Examine your peripheral (side) vision.
  • Take a photograph of your optic nerve or a computer measurement of it
  • Evaluate the thickness of your cornea

Treatment

Treatments can prevent further vision loss, but they cannot restore lost vision. If you suffer eye pain, severe headaches, or vision issues, you should see an eye doctor straight once. Some treatments include:

  • Medications – It can be treated with a variety of prescription eye drops. To improve ocular pressure, some people reduce fluids and increase drainage. Since glaucoma is a chronic condition, you may need to use daily eye drops for the rest of your life. You may need to use them more than once every day.
  • Laser therapy To help enhance fluid evacuation from your eye, your eye doctor will use a laser, which is a powerful light beam. Your doctor might recommend lasers in addition to or as a first-line treatment in place of eye drops. 
  • Surgery – Another method of lowering ocular pressure is surgery. Though more intrusive than drops or lasers, it can also manage ocular pressure more effectively and quickly. While surgery can help delay the progression of vision loss, it cannot treat it or restore lost eyesight. Your eye doctor may select one glaucoma surgery over another based on the particular type and severity of your condition.

Diet

Prevention

  • Schedule regular eye exams.
  • Learn about your family’s eye health history.
  • Use eye protection.
  • Use prescribed eye drops daily.

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