Glaucoma

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For and how to deal with the condition

What Is Glaucoma

In short, glaucoma is a buildup of pressure within the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve. There is a small space in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. Clear liquid flows in and out of the anterior chamber, this fluid nourishes and bathes nearby tissues. If a patient has glaucoma, the fluid drains too slowly out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up, and pressure inside the eye rises.

Unless this pressure is brought down and controlled, the optic nerve and other parts of the eye may become damaged, leading to loss of vision. The disease usually affects both eyes, although one may be more severely affected than the other.

Causes

Cases are divided into two categories:

  • Primary glaucoma – this means that the cause is unknown.
  • Secondary glaucoma – the condition has a known cause, such as a tumor, diabetes, an advanced cataract, or inflammation.

There are several risk factors for glaucoma:

  • Old age.
  • Some illnesses and conditions – like diabetes or hypothyroidism.
  • Eye injuries or conditions.
  • Eye surgery.
  • Myopia (nearsightedness).

Signs and Symptoms 

The signs and symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma are quite different:

Symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma

  • Peripheral vision is gradually lost. This nearly always affects both eyes.
  • In advanced stages, the patient has tunnel vision.

        Symptoms of closed angle glaucoma

  • Eye pain, usually severe.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Eye pain is often accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Lights appear to have extra halo-like glows around them.
  • Red eyes.
  • Sudden, unexpected vision problems, especially when lighting is poor.

If drugs don’t work, or if the patient cannot tolerate them, surgical intervention may be an option. The aim of surgery is usually to bring down the pressure inside the eye.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent glaucoma, but catching it early means it can be treated more effectively and vision loss can be minimized. Because, often, there are no symptoms, getting your eyes regularly checked is important; especially for people with a greater risk.

So, older adults people, and individuals with diabetes should be tested every year or 2 after the age of 35.

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