Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects more than 60 million people worldwide. It is characterized by the gradual loss of vision due to degradation of the optic nerve.
The disease usually develops slowly, without symptoms, and is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts.
Glaucoma has no cure, and the most indicated treatment and control is prevention and early diagnosis. Read on to learn more about glaucoma, its risk factors, and how you can prevent it.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a degradation of the optic nerve, usually associated with increased intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye). There are, however, cases of people with normal eye pressure who may have glaucoma.
The optic nerve is responsible for taking the information we see and transmitting it to the brain. When glaucoma affects these nerve fibers, they gradually die, which can result in total loss of vision.
This degradation usually happens because of increased intraocular pressure, caused by changes in the production and outflow of the aqueous humor (liquid that fills part of the eye).
This disorder can develop slowly and without symptoms, often leading to gradual loss of vision and even blindness.
There are two different types of glaucoma. They are
Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
This is also known as simple chronic glaucoma and is considered to be the most common type of the disease. Bilateral glaucoma is glaucoma that affects both eyes at the same time; it appears in adulthood. It is especially asymptomatic, and because it is gradual, it is only noticeable when the optic nerve is severely damaged.
The loss of vision begins at the ends of the visual field, in an effect much like looking through a telescope, which can extend over the entire visual field and cause complete loss of vision.
This type of glaucoma is common in people who are nearsighted, over 65, black, and have a thin cornea. Early diagnosis is possible with frequent eye care visits.
Primary Closed-Angle Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma usually comes on suddenly and acutely. You may be watching television or looking at a cell phone screen and notice an intense glare and a very sharp pain.
It is recommended that when you feel this pain, you go straight to the eye doctor, because it means that the eye pressure is very high. And if you do not receive the correct medication, you can go blind within a few hours.
Although not as common, this type of glaucoma is more dangerous.
Glaucoma Symptoms and Prevention
It is worth noting that there are also other risk factors for glaucoma, such as:
– Family history.
– Those with myopia and hyperopia.
– Trauma (such as a blow to the eye).
– People who frequently use corticosteroid eye drops
– Activities that can cause increased intraocular pressure (such as yoga)
In addition, the disease is more prevalent in people over the age of 40, of black color, or of Asian descent.
As in most cases, glaucoma has no symptoms, so it takes a long time for people to realize that they are ill. But, as time goes by, they begin to have difficulty with reading and with various activities of daily living, such as driving and walking without bumping into corners.
One piece of information you need to know: glaucoma has no cure, but it can be controlled and treated. Especially if it is detected early on. That’s why we remind you that your eye health depends on regular visits to the ophthalmologist.
During regular eye examinations, it is possible to check whether you suffer from high eye pressure, one of the causes of the problem. If there are any changes, the ophthalmologist may also perform a fundus examination.
The treatments available for glaucoma are eye drops and medications to maintain healthy eye pressure. With advances in medicine, there are also other possible treatments:
– Use of laser – Selective Trabeculoplasty (SLT).
– Micro-stents, microscopic components placed inside vessels to relieve blockages.
Conclusions about glaucoma symptoms and prevention.
Although there is no cure, it is possible to treat and control glaucoma so that it does not progress. To do this, routine checkups and examinations are essential. And remember, keep your eye doctor informed about your family history, especially if there is glaucoma in your family. Also, tell them if you use eye drops frequently. If you need anything, be sure to see your doctor.