Contrary to popular belief, glaucoma is not a singular medical condition. In other
words, glaucoma consists of multiple diseases that damage optic nerves in the eyes, according to National Eye Institute. Left untreated, it can cause partial or total loss of vision. The good news is early diagnosis and medical treatment can prevent loss of vision from occurring. Here is some more information about this medical condition:
An Overview of Glaucoma
In most cases, medical experts associate glaucoma with pressure buildup inside the eye. This intraocular pressure damages the eye’s optic nerves. This is bad because the optic nerves play a big role in transmitting images to the brain. Some of the common causes of pressure buildup include chemical or physical injury to the eyes, eye infections, and even eye surgery. Any of these factors could interfere with proper circulation of fluid in the eyes.
To start with, figures published by the Glaucoma Research Foundation show that African Americans are 15 times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians. The Irish, Hispanic, Scandinavians, and Russians also have a high likelihood of developing glaucoma. Secondly, senior citizens have a higher likelihood of developing this medical condition. Thirdly, you are likely to develop glaucoma if you come from a family with a history of this disease. Fourthly, people with poor vision and diabetes could develop glaucoma.
Glaucoma symptoms vary from one person to the next. Some people do not even know that they have this disease until they start experiencing vision loss. For this reason, it is advisable to undergo regular checks at least once every two years. Nevertheless, common glaucoma symptoms include nausea or vomiting, peripheral or side vision loss, pain in the eyes, seeing halos around lights, eyes that appear hazy, tunnel vision, and redness in the eyes.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect you have glaucoma, consult an optometrist immediately. He/she will put you through eye tests like pachymetry, tonometry, visual acuity test, visual field test, and dilated eye exam. After diagnosis, an optometrist may prescribe eye drops, laser surgery, laser trabeculoplasty, or conventional surgery. It is important to note that there is no cure for glaucoma. The aim of carrying out surgical intervention or prescribing medications is to halt further loss of vision. For this reason, it is advisable to undergo regular checks even after undergoing eye surgery.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation has found that 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma. In addition, this condition is the second leading cause of blindness among African Americans. Since glaucoma has no known cure, treatment can only halt vision loss.
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