What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye gets damaged due to damage in the eye’s optic nerves due to excessive pressure on the eyes. This condition only becomes worse over time if left untreated and can eventually end up in the blindness of the affected eye. Usually, it runs in the blood and is inherited from family.
Usually, Glaucoma symptoms do not show early and easily. It is necessary for one to visit their doctor regularly in order to get their Glaucoma diagnosed in an early stage when it can be easily treated. If not treated at the proper time, it ends with the affected person losing their eyesight.
What are Glaucoma causes?
Inside the eye, a liquid is produced by a tissue layer. The liquid is called aqueous. When the said liquid is produced excessively, or due to one reason or another, it can leave the eye as quickly as it should, it exerts a pressure on the eye.
This pressure exerted on the eye can be very dangerous because it damages the eye by weakening the optic nerve. The amount of damage the optic nerve bears depends on the time duration and the intensity of the pressure that has been exerted on the optic nerve.
The sooner this pressure (and Glaucoma) is identified, the easier it is to treat it. As an increasing amount of time passes and the damage increases, it gradually leads the eye toward complete long-term blindness. Hence, the increased pressure on the eye can be a very serious problem.
The chances of getting affected by Glaucoma increase if it anyone from your immediate family has been affected by it. It can be inherited from your parents. Also, your chances of getting Glaucoma increase if you are African-American or Latino, diabetic or if you have cardiovascular disease.
With increasing age, the risk of getting this disease also increases.
Types of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is usually of four types
- Chronic Glaucoma
Chronic Glaucoma is usually the most common kind. This type gradually grows, takes a long time to show, and is not painful in the start. In this type, the pressure on the eye increases very slowly because the fluid flows to the drainage channels, but over a long time, the channels are blocked, therefore, that causes pressure on the eye.
- Acute Glaucoma
This type of Glaucoma is comparatively a lot less common. In this type of Glaucoma, the pressure on the eye increases abruptly, because unlike the chronic Glaucoma, the fluid does not even flow to the drainage channels. Hence, the block is severe. Acute Glaucoma requires prompt treatment; otherwise, acute Glaucoma causes permanent blindness1 very quickly. This type of Glaucoma is quite dangerous and painful.
- Secondary Glaucoma
This is another type of Glaucoma, which is caused due to some other eye conditions. When the eye is affected by any other eye condition that leads to the development of Glaucoma, it is known as Secondary Glaucoma. It happens less than 1% in babies. It is mostly found in adults.
- Primary Congenital Glaucoma
This same condition, when found in babies, is called Primary Congenital Glaucoma. In babies, it can be very serious and dangerous. The affected children have abnormally large eyeballs. The condition of abnormally large eyes is called Buphthalmos. This type of Glaucoma is also known as Developmental Glaucoma.
Symptoms and Signs of Glaucoma
Chronic Glaucoma Symptoms
- The beginning of this type is symptomless
- No Pain
- Gradual loss of vision at the peripheral sides spreads to the other parts slowly.
- If not treated, the vision becomes limited to only the front, called tunnel vision.
- Complete blindness in the end.
Acute Glaucoma Symptoms
- Severe eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Headaches (mostly caused in areas where the light is dim)
- Red eyes
- Haloes seen around lights when looking at light.
Measures to take
If you feel like you have been affected by Glaucoma, consult your doctor immediately.
It is recommended to get your eyes checked by your doctor every once in a while because chronic glaucoma is painless and symptomless in the beginning. So, it cannot be identified by a layman, but only a doctor. In the beginning, the pain and receding vision are rather unnoticeable.
The test for Glaucoma
The exam for diagnosis of Glaucoma is quick, easy and painless. The doctor will check your vision to see the beginning symptoms of Glaucoma. Some drops will be used to dilate the pupils of your eyes to see if the inside of the eye is damaged. These drops might blur your vision for some time, but it will eventually clear again. A tonometer is also used to calculate the pressure that your eye is under. Then, according to the results, the doctor will determine if you need more tests or prompt treatment.
In order to get your Glaucoma treated, it is essential to get it diagnosed in an early stage. With minimum damage, it is easy to treat it. The Glaucoma treatment is a mixture of
- Eye drops
- Laser Surgery2
- General eye surgery
If once a person loses their eyesight, it cannot be treated or gained back. The treatment of Glaucoma can only prevent further blinding and damage. It cannot bring back the vision that has been lost.
When the treatment for Glaucoma starts, it is necessary that you make sure to inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking or any other treatments you are undergoing.
Also, make sure to take all your prescribed medicines and use all the recommended drops at the given time.
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