The silent thief of vision
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. “If left untreated glaucoma can result in irreversible blindness.”
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve connects our eye to the brain, so that the brain receives and perceives the images. A healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision.
How common is glaucoma?
According to WHO, there are 70 million people worldwide with glaucoma and around 4.5 million people are bilaterally blind. In India approximately 11.2 million people > 40 years of age are suffering from glaucoma among which 6.48 million people have primary open angle glaucoma and 2.54 million people are suffering from angle closure glaucoma. In south India the prevalence of glaucoma is 2.6% on average sadly 90% the patient are not aware of their disease, till advanced or blind stage.
Who are at risk for developing glaucoma?
Anybody can have glaucoma, but there are certain groups who are prone to develop glaucoma, these are
- Person with family history of glaucoma
- High eye pressure
- High Myopia
- High Hypermetropia
- Steroid users
How Glaucoma develops?
Clear liquid called aqueous humor circulates inside the front portion of the eye. To maintain a healthy level of pressure within the eye, a small amount of this fluid is produced constantly while an equal amount flows out of the eye through a microscopic drainage system. (This liquid is not part of the tears on the outer surface of the eye.) Because the eye is a closed structure, if the drainage area for the aqueous humor –called the drainage angle – is blocked, the excess fluid cannot flow out of the
eye. Fluid pressure within the eye increases pushing against the optic nerve and causing damage.
What are the Types of glaucoma?
- Primary open angle glaucoma this type of glaucoma is associated with high eye pressure and optic nerve damage.
- Low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma. Optic nerve damage and narrowed side vision occurs despite low pressures while person remains asymptomatic.
- Angle-closure glaucoma. People with this type of glaucoma have a sudden increase in eye pressure.
- Secondary Glaucomas. This type of Glaucoma develops secondary to other condition of the eye or body.
- Congenital glaucoma. New born baby can have Glaucoma. Immediate treatment is required to save the
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal till the advanced stage.first the patient loses his side vision, if remain untreated complete vision is lost and the damage is irreversible even after the treatment.Symptom of angle closure glaucoma include severe pain and nausea, as well as redness of the eye and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately as this is a medical emergency.