Sneak Thief of Sight: Glaucoma

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Glaucoma refers to disorders that affect the optic nerve and cause vision loss and blindness. Many individuals with glaucoma don’t have any symptoms and aren’t aware they have it until they’ve lost a substantial vision. On the other hand, early identification and treatment may prevent eyes from significant vision loss or blindness. Because most people do not detect symptoms until the illness has advanced sufficiently, glaucoma is the “sneak thief of sight.” One primary reason to undergo frequent, comprehensive eye exams is to detect glaucoma at an early, curable stage. Patients of all ages are affected by glaucoma.

How does glaucoma develop?

The most prevalent source of danger

Ocular hypertension is the most common risk factor for glaucoma. The aqueous humor (a fluid that bathes the inner eye) does not drain correctly and builds up, placing excessive pressure on the optic nerve and producing a “stress” that it cannot handle.

Other potential dangers

There are, however, persons with high intraocular pressure who do not acquire glaucoma and those with regular readings (less than 21 mm Hg pressure) who do get the disease.

Glaucoma is a complex illness whose genesis is yet unknown. It is important to remember that it is not merely the result of a “mechanical” failure in the aqueous humor drainage system. Because the blood arteries within the eyeball are among the finest in the body and hence highly vulnerable, it is thought that vascular issues may be connected with instances of glaucoma with normal intraocular pressure.

Factors inherited

However, in certain varieties of glaucoma, such as open-angle (familial) primary glaucoma, which is the most prevalent, or congenital glaucoma, which emerges in the early months of birth, and juvenile glaucoma, hereditary predisposition is a crucial component.

Glaucoma’s Different Types

Chronic (primary open-angle) Glaucoma

The most prevalent kind of sickness is this. A structurally normal eye distinguishes it with a possible increase in intraocular pressure.

Glaucoma with acute angle-closure

When the iris blocks the outflow of fluid from the eye, the pressure within the eye quickly rises. Acute closure may be a dangerous condition. People experience eye redness, discomfort, nausea, and impaired vision. Help should be sought right away. If treatment is postponed, irreversible vision impairment may occur in a short period. Laser surgery may usually remove the obstruction and prevent vision loss if done quickly enough.

Congenital Glaucoma

An improper drainage system causes this unusual glaucoma, and it might be present at birth or emerge later. Parents may notice that their kid is light-sensitive, has swollen and hazy eyes, and dries up quickly. Typically, surgery is required.

Glaucoma secondary

Other eye problems, such as accidents, cataracts, and inflammation, might cause this. The root of the problem determines treatment.

Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms

It’s crucial to note that early-stage glaucoma sufferers are often asymptomatic. Symptoms vary based on the kind of glaucoma, and they may appear in one or both eyes. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of open-angle glaucoma:

  • The vision that is dim or blurry
  • Peripheral vision loss with time
  • Image via a tunnel (at advanced stages)

Angle-closure glaucoma symptoms may be eye-related or systemic:

  • The eye ache is severe.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Unexpected visual disturbance
  • Vision is hazy
  • Lights with halo effects
  • Reddened eyes
  • Headache

Glaucoma may be either a primary or secondary condition.

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma is diagnosed after a thorough medical examination of the eye and a study of the patient’s medical history. To confirm the diagnosis, tests are performed. The following tests may be performed:

  • Tonometry
  • Examination with dilated eyes
  • Visual field examination (perimetry)
  • Examining the retina
  • Pachymetry \sGonioscopy
  • Test of visual acuity

Glaucoma Treatment 

Because glaucoma generally has no early symptoms, an eye exam is the only accurate identification approach. According to the experts, people in high-risk categories, such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, should have frequent eye examinations. Everyone should get an eye exam by the age of 40.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, ophthalmologists may perform various tests to screen for glaucoma and associated symptoms. They may examine your eye pressure using tonometry, which involves measuring ocular pressure with a tiny probe or a puff of air. Glaucoma patients often have ocular pressures of more than 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, ophthalmologists also utilize an ophthalmoscopy technique to inspect the optic nerve directly for indications of damage. Doctors dilate or widen the pupil using specific eye drops before performing this treatment. They next examine the pupil using a little instrument with a light on the end to magnify the optic nerve at the back of the eye.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, if an eye doctor suspects someone has glaucoma, they may do further testing. They could, for example, do a perimetry test, which looks at a person’s field of vision since glaucoma typically affects the peripheral vision first. They may also do a gonioscopy test, which involves examining the angle between the iris and the cornea — the eye’s transparent, protective outer layer — to identify whether someone has open-angle or angle-closure glaucoma. Another examination, known as a pachymetry test, evaluates the corneal thickness, which may be linked to ocular pressure.

Glaucoma may be treated in a variety of ways. To reduce the amount of pressure in the eye, one option is to utilize eye drops or oral drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic, these drugs reduce ocular fluid production, boost fluid flow out of the eye, or enhance fluid drainage.

Glaucoma may also be treated with various operations. Various types of laser surgery may aid in drainage or reduce fluid production in the eye. According to the Mayo Clinic, many kinds of non-laser eye procedures may establish a means for fluid to drain out of sight, such as developing a small hole in the trabecular meshwork or implanting a tiny drainage tube in the eye. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery procedures are comparable but performed on a small scale. According to the National Eye Institute, several forms of surgery may usually cure the condition causing glaucoma and, if done early enough, can preserve all of the vision.

Some persons with glaucoma may achieve low or even no visual loss with therapy. Others, on the other hand, may ultimately grow blind.

Glaucoma vision loss may be reduced with regular eye examinations and quick treatment. Maintaining a healthy weight, regulating blood pressure, being physically active, and not smoking can also help you prevent glaucoma-related vision loss.

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