Glaucoma is an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve due to high fluid pressure in the eyes. The optic nerves provide a visual signal to the brain from the eyes and normal functioning of the optic nerves is crucial for a good vision. As per the statistics, about 12 million people in India are affected by glaucoma. Also Read: World Glaucoma Week: 5 Ways To Protect Vision
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over the age of 60. Genetics, age, ethnicity, comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension and thyroid disorder and long term usage of certain medications are some of the risk factors for glaucoma.
The innermost space between iris and cornea is called the anterior chamber. Clear fluids move in and out of the anterior chamber which nurtures and sustenance the health of the eye tissues. In people suffering from glaucoma, the fluid empties very slowly out of the eye which results in fluid accumulation and elevates the pressure inside the eyes.
High fluid pressure inside the eyes eventually damages the optic nerve and may result in loss of vision. Glaucoma generally affects both the eyes; however, one eye may be severely affected than the other eye.
Types And Symptoms:
Generally, the signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending upon the nature and stage of glaucoma and it is categorized into different types such as:
Open-Angle Glaucoma is the common type of glaucoma which has no characteristic signs or symptoms but leads to vision loss. Hence it is vital to get a complete eye checkup regularly to rule out any changes in the vision.
Acute -Angle-Closure Glaucoma
This condition is also called narrow-angle glaucoma and it is more severe than open-angle glaucoma. In this condition, the flow of aqueous humour fluid is hindered abruptly, which increases fluid accumulation and may be painful and elevate eye pressure. People experiencing any of the following symptoms should seek immediate medical attention as it an emergency situation and the symptoms include:
- Extreme pain in the eye
- Reddish eyes
- Vision troubles
- Observing coloured rings around lights
- Blurred vision
- If left untreated acute-angle-closure glaucoma may ultimately lead to blindness.
Congenital glaucoma is a condition where children are born with a defect in the angle of their eyes, which averts normal fluid drainage. Symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Cloudy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
Secondary glaucoma is mostly caused due to side effects of any injury, trauma or eye disorders like cataracts or tumour and drugs like corticosteroids may also, cause secondary glaucoma.
In some people, the optic nerve is damaged and the exact cause for this is unknown. Some of the causative factors for secondary glaucoma include high sensitivity to external stimuli and improper blood flow to the optic nerve.
Diagnosis And Treatment
The ophthalmologist will collect complete medical history and perform an eye examination. Some of the tests recommended by the eye specialist include:
- Measuring intraocular pressure
- Detecting for optic nerve damage by dilating the eyes and imaging tests
- Examining for areas of vision loss
- Measuring corneal thickness
- Checking the eye drainage angle
Treatment of glaucoma includes frequent reviews and regular eye examination to slow or avert vision loss, as the damage caused due to glaucoma cannot be completely treated. Depending upon the severity of the condition treatment option includes prescription eye drops, medications, laser treatment or surgery.
Lifestyle modification can help people suffering from glaucoma to lessen the eye pressure and improve vision which includes:
- Eating a healthy and nutritious diet, by choosing from a wide range of eye-friendly nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, antioxidants and minerals like zinc, copper and selenium which promotes eye health and maintains good vision.
- Moderate exercises may help greatly to lessen eye pressure, however, talk to your eye specialist about the specific exercise program.
- Restrict the intake of caffeinated beverages as excess caffeine in the diet may elevate your eye pressure.
- Adequate hydration is an important part of healthy living.
- Sleep with your head elevated about 20 degrees which ease to lower the intraocular pressure while sleeping.
- Follow the medications and eye drops as prescribed by an ophthalmologist which will you to manage the condition. Also Read: Prevent Glaucoma With Regular Eye-Checkups