Glaucoma is generally defined as an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. It is notorious for the characteristic that it gets worse in a short period of time. Accordingly, the condition is linked to the buildup of pressure inside the eye. However, it can be inherited and will likely show up only in the later stages of a person’s life, or when he’s older.
The pressure increase in the eye is medically referred to as intraocular pressure. It will work by damaging the optic nerve, the part of the eye that is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. The Chelsea optometrist reminds patients that whenever the optic nerve is damaged continuously due to high pressure, glaucoma will eventually lead to the loss of vision on a permanent status. Therefore, the lack of treatment for glaucoma will correspond to total permanent blindness in just a matter of a few years.
Another thing that makes it notorious is the fact that it does not show any symptoms or even pain from its early stages, even if there is already increased pressure in the eyes. Because of this, it is imperative for everyone to see their optometrist in Chelsea on a regular basis for early detection and diagnosis, which in turn leads to ideal treatment right before the chances of total vision loss increase. For people who are aged forty or above, with a family history of glaucoma, a comprehensive eye examination is needed and it has to be done every two years. But for those who are suffering from related illnesses like diabetes or other types of eye diseases, visiting the eye doctor has to be done more often.
Pressure in the Eye
Glaucoma almost always happens because of the buildup of pressure in the eye. But why is there pressure in the eye in the first place? The pressure is actually caused by the eye fluid failing to circulate with normality in the front portion of the eye. This fluid, called aqueous humor will flow out of the eye courtesy of the mesh-like channel. Now when this channel is blocked, the fluid will eventually build up and then correspond to the development of glaucoma. However, it is unfortunate to know that the direct cause of the blockage is still unknown in the medical community. What eye doctors know for sure though is that glaucoma can be inherited.
But aside from the abnormality of the flow of aqueous humor, there are other causes of glaucoma and this includes injury to the eye, infection on the severe level, inflammatory conditions, and blockage of the blood vessels in the eye. There are also rare instances when the illness is caused by surgery done in order to correct or treat a separate eye condition. In most instances, glaucoma will affect both eyes but there are times when one eye is more severe than the other.
Types of Glaucoma
Generally speaking, there are two main types. These are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. The former is also called wide-angle glaucoma. It is the most common type where the structures of the eye appear to be normal but the fluid does not properly flow through the drain called trabecular meshwork. The latter on the other hand is likewise called as acute or narrow-angle where there may be a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye. In this type, the drainage is poor because the angle in between the iris and cornea is narrow.
Individuals Prone to Glaucoma
In most scenarios, people who are aged forty and up are the most prone to it. However, it may still be present in young adults and even infants and kids. It is also worthy of mention that glaucoma is more likely to occur in people with African-American lineage. Other than those mentioned, here are more:
• Those with Irish, Japanese, Russian, Hispanic, Scandinavian, and Inuit descent
• Those with poor vision
• Those who suffer from diabetes
• Those who have a family history of the illness
• Those that take steroid medications
Knowing the Symptoms
For a lot of people, the symptoms can be very few. For others, there might no symptoms at all. That’s why there is strong emphasis on seeing the eye doctor in order to make sure glaucoma is detected at an early stage.
The first sign would be the loss of side or peripheral vision. Keep in mind that this sign can also be tolerated or unnoticed until the disease is already in the late stages. When intraocular pressure rises to higher levels, there will be symptoms like severe eye pain, blurred vision, headache, and the appearance of halo around lights.
Provided you have the symptoms below, you need to immediately seek professional help:
Redness in the eyes
Loss of vision
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in the eye
Eye drops – in most cases, the initial treatment after early detection is eye drops. Full patient compliance is required in order to prevent the likelihood of side effects. Eye drop treatment for glaucoma includes prostaglandin analogues, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, beta blockers, and cholinergic agents.
Surgery – but if traditional medication doesn’t work the last resort is surgical intervention. Surgery is primarily intended to ease the pressure inside the eyes. The best and most popular examples are trabeculoplasty, filtering surgery, and drainage implant.