Be Aware of The Silent Killer of Eye Sight: Glaucoma!
Glaucoma is known as the ‘silent killer of eye sight’, because in most cases it does not cause any pain or symptoms until the patient realizes of a vision loss. So, glaucoma progresses without known by the patient until the optic nerve will get damaged irreversibly.
What are the common signs of glaucoma?
Common Signs/Symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Gradual loss of peripheral vision, usually in both eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sudden onset of visual disturbance
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Reddening of the eye
Glaucoma is caused due to the increase in intraocular pressure, which will result in the failure of drainage structures of the eyes. If left untreated, this will cause the damage of the retinal fibers and optic nerve, which results in the gradual and permanent loss of eyesight. Intraocular pressure is found in the aqueous humor of the eyes. The intraocular pressure in majority of people will ranges from 8 to 21. The rate of toleration of intraocular pressure varies from one person to other. Some people can tolerate higher eye pressure, and in those people the eye pressure can be considered as normal.
The different types of glaucoma are open angle glaucoma, acute angle closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, congenital, pigmentary glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is caused by the reduced peripheral vision without having any symptoms. Acute angle closure glaucoma causes symptoms like halos, vision loss, headaches, eye pain, red eyes, vomiting, nausea, and dilated pupil. Secondary glaucoma is developed by eye inflammation, eye infection, tumor, enlarged cataract or eye injury. Congenital glaucoma is present at the time of birth due to genetic reasons.
Who is at higher risk to develop glaucoma?
Individuals with family history of having glaucoma, African Americans above the age of 40 and individuals of the age 60 and above, mainly Mexican Americans are at higher risk of developing glaucoma. Asian wemon in particular are at risk of Angle Closure glaucoma and should be tested for this annually. For those with high risk factors, it is advised that you are tested every year or two after the age of 35. For those at higher risk, such as people with a family history of glaucoma or those over the age of sixty, regular checkups are essential in maintaining and monitoring eye health. Read more about this topic here.
There are some general tips that may help prevent serious damage from glaucoma:
- Get regular eye care – Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma at its earliest stage. Catching glaucoma before it develops can mean stopping it before irreversible damage occurs. Those over the age of 60 should have their eyes checked every year. Those with glaucoma risk factors may require more frequent screening.
- Treat elevated eye pressure – Glaucoma eye drops can significantly reduce the risk of elevated eye pressure developing into glaucoma.
- Eat a healthy diet – Can improve your physical and mental health, as well as help maintain and control blood pressure.
- Wear eye protection – Wearing sunglasses can help protect the eyes from excess exposure to UV light. In addition, eye protection during high-speed racket sports or when using power tools can reduce the risk of serious eye injuries that may result in glaucoma. Read more on how to prevent vision loss from glaucoma here.
People with suspected glaucoma should require extra eye tests.
Glaucoma in majority of patients can be treated with medications used for controlling eye pressure. When the medications fail to cure the condition then surgical procedure is the last option. Glaucoma surgery is performed with the help of a laser.
What is the laser treatment to cure glaucoma?
There are different types of laser therapies to cure glaucoma. Laser trabeculoplasty and laser trabeculectomy are the commonly used laser procedures. In trabeculoplasty, the surgeon makes several tiny holes in the area where both iris and the cornea meet. The holes created will allow the aqueous humor to drain out of the eye. Thus the pressure of the eyes is reduced. Trabculectomy is used mainly in advanced condition of glaucoma in which an area for artificial drainage is created by the surgeon to drain out the fluid from the eye. Drs. Joseph and Jeffrey Dello Russo from Dello Russo LaserVision, located in New Jersey and New York, are skilled and well experienced in laser therapy for the treatment of Glaucoma.
Again, don’t wait for noticeable problems. The key to detecting glaucoma is regular eye exams.