More than 4.2 million people aged 40 years and over in the United States are either blind or are with low vision. The CDC says that the leading cause of blindness or low vision among Americans is primarily age-related eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Identifying the warning signs of each of these diseases helps middle-aged or older people seek appropriate treatment early. So in this article, we intend to introduce you to glaucoma, its symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment.
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Table of Contents
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the patient’s optic nerve. Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. Excess fluid leads to increased intraocular pressure and damage to the optic nerve. Although glaucoma can occur at any age, it is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60. Unfortunately, glaucoma may not have warning signs, and the condition can be diagnosed when a person has advanced stages of the disease.
There are different types of this disease, but the two main types are:
Other types of glaucoma include:
In the following sections, we define the two common types of this disease.
This is the most prevalent type of this disease and happens gradually, where the eye does not drain fluid. As a result, the pressure in your eyes increases, and the optic nerve gradually weakens. If you have this type of glaucoma, you do not feel pain and any change in your vision at first. Some people have optic nerves that are susceptible to normal pressure inside the eyes. These people are more at risk, so regular eye exams are necessary to find the early signs of eye damage in these people.
This condition occurs when a person’s iris is close to the drainage angle in the eye. In this way, the iris obstructs the drainage angle. With complete obstruction of the drainage angle, the pressure inside the eye increases quickly. This condition is an eye emergency, and you might go blind. The following symptoms may indicate an acute attack:
Angle-closure glaucoma can lead to blindness if not treated right away.
Glaucoma does not have obvious symptoms at first, but over time the edges of your vision are affected. You may not know you have glaucoma. Therefore, if you have blurred vision or see rainbow-colored circles around bright lights, contact your doctor immediately. Both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one of your eyes. In some cases, glaucoma may develop suddenly and cause the following symptoms:
Although injury caused by glaucoma is not reversible, treatment can prevent your vision from getting worse. The type of glaucoma determines treatment, but treatment options are:
If you have a headache, eye pain, or blurred vision, you should see your ophthalmologist right away. Early detection and treatment of this illness can prevent your vision from getting worse. Remember that glaucoma is an emergency condition and should be treated immediately.
People with the following conditions are at higher risk for glaucoma:
Considering the following helps to diagnose glaucoma in the early stages:
To control intraocular pressure, you can consider the following points:
Most eye conditions including glaucoma must be detected and treated early on to prevent lasting damage. Therefore, we advice that you do a comprehensive eye exams according to recommendation of American Academy of Ophthalmology. These exams are particularly important in diseases such as glaucoma that do not have obvious warning signs. If you are experiencing noticeable changes in your vision, it is vital to make an appointment for an eye exam ASAP.
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