Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is caused by an increase in the pressure within your eyeball. When intraocular pressure increases, it damages the optic nerve leading to permanent loss of vision. The most dangerous thing about glaucoma is that there are no early symptoms. The damage is so gradual that you may not realise that there is a problem until late.
You have a greater risk of getting glaucoma if:
- You are over 40 years old
- Have a family history or glaucoma
- Have near/ far sight/ poor vision
- Have diabetes/ high blood pressure/ heart disease/ sickle cell anaemia
- Have had an eye injury or have thinner cornea
- Take certain steroids or drugs to control bladder or seizures
Symptom of glaucoma
Usually, glaucoma does not cause any symptom early on. They develop much later. Symptoms include:
- Loss of peripheral vision or side vision
- Halos around lights
- Gradual vision loss
- Eye pain
- Redness in your eye
There are different types of glaucoma and in some the symptoms may develop and progress suddenly. If you notice any of the symptoms consult an eye specialist at the earliest.
Types of glaucoma
The most common types of glaucoma are Open-angle glaucoma where the fluid does not flow out of the eye as it normally should and Angle-closure glaucoma where the drain outlets are narrowed leading to increase in fluid pressure.
The other types include Secondary glaucoma which is a result of other conditions such as cataract or diabetes, Normal-tension glaucoma where there is optic nerve damage even as the pressure is normal and Pigmentary glaucoma where tiny bits of pigment from the iris clog the drainage canals.
Treatment options for glaucoma
Early treatment will help preserve vision and limit or delay further damage. Depending on the type of glaucoma and the extent of progress of the disease you may be prescribed:
- Eye drops to decrease production of intraocular fluid or increase drainage to reduce pressure.
- Oral medicines to decrease production of fluid or increase drainage.
- Laser surgery to open drainage canal, promote free flow of fluid or limit production of fluid.
- Microsurgery to create a new drainage canal.
You may need any one or a combination of treatments for best results.
A few simple steps can reduce your risk of developing glaucoma.
As glaucoma does not have any early symptoms, get regular eye check-ups to catch the disease early. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you should have more frequent check-ups and start them earlier. If you have been prescribed medicines, follow the prescription to prevent or limit further damage. Wear goggles to protect your eyes during sports or any activity that could injure your eye.
The best way to protect your eyes and preserve vision is to get the best eye care. Consult our eye specialist for the most comprehensive treatment for all eye problems.