Glaucoma - An Overview
laucoma is one of the most common yet risky diseases for the eyes, typically affecting the older generation but not limited to them. It is daunting to perceive that we may lose our vision in the coming future. What can we do is retaliate and search for a cure soon. Sitting back will not help, eyes help you to see the wonders around you and it would be horrific if you lose your vision. Start your research regarding the disease and the best doctors in your area. Search for the right and experienced ophthalmologist and start treatment soon to control the disease in the earlier stages, but first, let’s comprehend what glaucoma is and how malicious it could get. Here’s all that you need to know.
Glaucoma is a condition that causes a relative rise in the fluidic pressure in the eyes which ultimately deteriorates the optic nerve in turn causing loss of vision in the long run. The optic nerve is the link between the eye and the brain. It sends visual signals to the brain. It is an absolutely necessary link for continuous vision and for the eye to function appropriately. Glaucoma is also known as the silent thief of sight, it gradually snatches the power of sight as the peripheral vision is lost imperceptibly and eventually causes total blindness. You will need treatment for the rest of your life once this disease is detected as there is no subtle cure.
A clear liquid known as aqueous humor produced in the posterior of the eye flows in the anterior chamber (front part) of the eye through the drainage canal located in the side corners of the eye where the iris and the cornea meet. This keeps the eye and the related tissue nourished and replenished. This liquid is continuously produced and circulated. What happens is sometimes the drainage angle gets blocked due to unknown reasons and the liquid fills in the lining as there is no space to escape or the draining process might have become slow. The liquid may backup and create extreme pressure in the posterior of the eye known as intraocular pressure, which damages the optic nerve.
Though the reason for blockage of drainage canal is still unknown as doctors consider it to be an inherited disorder but sometimes there may also be excess production of the fluid which accumulates in the lining of the eye and elevates the pressure in the eye.
WHO ARE AT RISK?
People over 40 years of age. Though it may still occur in people below 40 years but condition is very rare and controllable to a certain extent.
People of African, American and Hispanic descent are usually seen affected the most.
Poor or diminished flow of blood in the optic nerve
Mostly inherited and passes on to the off springs.
People with problems related to high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart diseases, myopia, hypermyopia have higher chances of exposure to glaucoma.
Inflammation of eye
An eye injury
The symptoms may vary from mild to acute. In early stages the symptoms may not be visible but may suddenly arise abruptly in future. Regular examinations and sessions with the ophthalmologist can help in spotting the disease early and appropriate measures can be taken in the initial stages. Some of the symptoms are listed here:
Acute eye pain
Nausea and vomiting
Redness of eye
Halos around glowing lights
Strain in eyes while focusing at a point
Pain during batting of eyelids.
A feeling of heaviness in eyes
Weakened night or low light vision
Glaucoma can be categorized into five main types and each type may show somewhat different symptoms-
OPEN ANGLE GLAUCOMA:
This the most common type of glaucoma that is diagnosed globally. In this the drain angle gets clogged overtime. The symptoms showed may be very gradual and minute in the initial stages as one might feel that loss of vision is due to the age factor. If this scenario continues and one takes time to seek diagnosis and treatment at a later stage, the cure would become impuissant.
CLOSED ANGLE GLAUCOMA:
This type of glaucoma is very troublesome and accounts for hasty treatment.
In this sudden and terrible pain in the eye commences causing dire discomfort. This aids for immediate surgery and occurs in people with narrow opening to the drainage canal which gets clogged. The loss of vision is very rapid and can be halted with immediate surgery to prevent complete blindness.
NORMAL TENSION GLAUCOMA:
This exhibits a very peculiar nature of glaucoma wherein the pressure in the eye is normal but the optical nerve still gets damaged. Doctors, explain it as an over sensitivity of the optic nerve, it may not stand even a minuscule rise of eye pressure or may be due to reduced blood flow in it.
This type of glaucoma predominantly hits babies, wherein their eyes remain undeveloped in the womb and for the first few years of life. Although surgery can fix it and it doesn’t pose a serious threat in future. The pupil seems to dilate and eyes become blurry and cloudy.
This occurs mostly in men in their middle age, the pigment cells slip from the back of the iris and float in the aqueous humor and overtime, block the drain canal which causes glaucoma. In some cases as the years pass, it may cure on its own. But seeking and consulting an eye doctor is advised so it does nit intensify.
Glaucoma is difficult to ascertain in early stages as it is mostly neglected but adversely affects the eyes on a gradual phase. Regular checkups with your ophthalmologist are absolutely relevant if you have a history of glaucoma patients in your family or even if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms. Your doctor may do some of the below mentioned tests:
First and foremost a regular check of your vision will be required. The rate at which your vision falls will determine whether it is because of the disease or just natural.
The doctor may perform tonometry, a process which measures the pressure in your eye.
The doctor may examine the optic nerve and take photographs of it for further treatment and reference.
He may critically examine the drainage angle of the eye in order to see if there is blockage or pigment accumulation has taken place.
Glaucoma is left untreated may cause a loss of a lifetime. After ascertaining the disease the doctor might keep you on regular medication throughout your life since the disease can be controlled but cannot be cured. Some of the medications may include:
Eye drops and oral pills – eye drops may help in cutting down the fluid creation in the eye and also reduce the density of the fluid. Let your doctor know if you have any side effects of the eye drop such as increased redness, itching, swelling, bulging or heaviness of eyes.
Oral medications may be given to regulate the blood flow in the optic nerve and maintain the levels of fluid generation.
Laser surgery- this may not be a permanent cure but extreme situations of glaucoma can be managed and some vision can be brought back. Some people may require more than one therapy
Trabeculectomy is a surgery done when no medication works.
Protect your eye- Wear a good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from heat and dust which may increase pressure or cause any kind of blockage.
Exercise well – plan an exercise routine with your doctor and follow the schedule. It will help regulate the flow of blood in your nerves. It is advised not to do exercises which involve jumping and very rigorous physical displacement, because it may aggravate the eye condition.
Eat healthy: Include green leafy vegetables (which are great anti oxidants)
Also include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet which contain EPA and DHA. Prefer a diet which is low fat and high fiber.
Consume less of caffeine, tea and soda which raise the blood pressure.
Don’t scratch your eyes if they feel itchy.
Avoid lenses for the time being which add an extra pressure to your eyes.
HOW TO NATURALLY COPE WITH THE DISEASE?
Glaucoma may also have an adverse effect on the mental health of the being. Take regular eye checkup in every 1 or 2 years in order to trace the symptoms beforehand. Earlier the process of treatment will start with greater strength the disease can be controlled. Keep your mind positive and healthy. Intake a lot of fibers and vitamin A to improve your eye health. Also lessen your screen time to avoid straining of eyes.