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Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that damages a person’s optic nerve. Optic nerve health is essential for good vision. The damage is generally caused due to abnormally high pressure in the eye.
The health condition is one of the most leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Glaucoma can occur at any age, but it is more common in adults.
Though many forms of the health condition show no warning signs, the effect is so gradual that a person suffering from it may notice a vision change until the condition gets to its advanced stage.
As vision loss occurs because Glaucoma cannot be recovered, it is essential to have a routine eye examination that includes the eye pressure measurement so that the diagnosis can be done at a very initial stage and can be treated appropriately.
The best thing to be noted here is that if the health condition is diagnosed early, the vision loss can be prevented or slowed down.
A collection of eye conditions known as glaucoma can result in vision loss and blindness by harming the optic nerve, a nerve located in the back of the eye. You may not notice the symptoms at first because they can appear gradually. A thorough dilated eye exam is the only way to determine if you have glaucoma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The symptoms of health vary depending on the stage and type of the condition.
- Open-angle Glaucoma includes patchy blind spots in the central or side vision and tunnel vision in the advanced stage.
- Acute angle-closure Glaucoma includes severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, halos around lights, blurred vision, and eye redness.
Essential to note!
If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.
Causes of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a result of optic nerve damage. As the nerve gradually deteriorates, the blind spots begin to develop in the visual field.
This optic nerve is generally associated with increased eye pressure, and the elevated eye pressure is due to the fluid buildup that usually flows throughout the inside of the eye.
This internal fluid generally drains out through the tissue known as the trabecular meshwork at an angle where the cornea and iris meet. And when this fluid is overproduced, the fluid cannot flow at its usual pace, leading to increased eye pressure.
The health condition tends to run in the family, so family history can also be the reason.
- Open-angle Glaucoma
It is the most common form of the disease where the iris and cornea generate the drainage angle, remain open. But at the same time, the meshwork is partially blocked.
This leads to the pressure in the eye increasing gradually, which consequently damages the optic nerve.
- Angle-closure Glaucoma
This form of Glaucoma occurs when the iris blocks the drainage angle formed or bulges forward to narrow. Consequently, the fluid cannot circulate through the eye leading to an increase in eye pressure. This may occur all of a sudden or gradually.
- Normal-tension Glaucoma
The optic nerve becomes damaged during this form even though the eye pressure is in its normal range. However, the exact reason for this is still unknown, but this may lead to a sensitive optic nerve.
- Glaucoma in children
It is also possible for the children or infants to have the health condition. This may be present by birth or can also develop in a few years. The optic nerve is damaged due to an underlying health condition or drainage blockage in such a case.
- Pigmentary Glaucoma
In this form, the pigment granules from the iris develop in the drainage channel while blocking or slowing down the fluid exiting from the eyes.
Risk factors involved
As Glaucoma’s chronic forms can destroy a person’s entire vision before symptoms are apparent, you must be aware of these risk factors involved.
- Having high internal eye pressure
- Being black
- Being over the age of 60
- Having specific medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes
- Having a family history of health condition
- Being extremely far or nearsighted
- Taking corticosteroid medications
- Having cornea that is thin in the center
Several self-care tips can reduce the risk of complete vision loss as the early diagnosis of the health condition can help in slowing the progress. The tips include:
- Get a routine dilated eye examination
- Know the family history
- Exercise safe
- Take the prescribed eye drops regularly
- Wear an eye protection
Diagnosis of Glaucoma
The doctor will review the medical history and also conduct a comprehensive eye examination to diagnose the health condition. However, the several suggested tests include:
- Measuring intraocular pressure
- Checking for vision loss areas
- Testing for optic damage with imaging test and dilated eye examination
- Inspecting drainage angle
- Measuring corneal thickness
Treatment of Glaucoma
The damage caused due to the Glaucoma cannot be reversed, but the regular checkup and treatment can prevent vision loss or slow down the progression of the health condition.
It is generally treated by lowering the eye pressure depending upon the situation; several other alternatives may also be prescribed, like oral medications, eye drops, laser treatment, or surgery.
The health condition is severe and can lead to a complete vision loss and affect a person’s entire potential to perform the day-to-day activities of life.
Don’t forget to go for routine checkups and eye examinations to stay safe from the health condition.
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