6/05/2013

WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. The damage to the vision may be so gradual you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage. Studies have shown that increased eye pressure is a major risk factor for optic nerve damage. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and limit glaucoma-related vision loss. It is important therefore to check your eye pressure regularly. One of my grandmother’s was diagnosed with glaucoma. Unfortunately, it was not detected early and this led to blindness. She lived many years blind before she passed on.

There are two main types of glaucoma:

Open-angle glaucoma. Also called wide-angle glaucoma, this is the most common type of glaucoma. The structures of the eye appear normal, but fluid in the eye does not flow properly through the drain of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork.

Angle-closure glaucoma. Also called acute or chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma, this type of glaucoma is less common but can cause a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye. Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea (where a drainage channel for the eye is located) is too narrow.

Are there any symptoms? 

Primary signs and symptoms for open-angle glaucoma include: a) Gradual loss of peripheral vision, usually in both eyes b) Tunnel vision in the advanced stages. Acute angle-closure glaucoma signs and symptoms include: a) Eye pain b) Nausea and vomiting (accompanying the severe eye pain) c) Sudden onset of visual disturbance, often in low light d) Blurred vision e) Halos around lights f) Reddening of the eye

It is advisable not to wait for noticeable eye problems. Primary open-angle glaucoma gives few warning signs until permanent damage has already occurred. Regular eye exams would help detect glaucoma early enough to successfully treat the condition and prevent further progression. 

To know more visit : National Eye Institute website; or Glaucoma Research Foundation
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