Glaucoma is a complex eye condition where the optic nerve is damaged that leads to progressive and irreversible vision loss. It’s also the world's second most eye disease that leads to blindness. Read on to find out the complete guide to glaucoma and other tasks related to it like glaucoma symptoms, glaucoma treatment, glaucoma test, etc.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of severe eye conditions that damage the optic nerve of the eye due to high pressure around the eyes. You must be wondering about the importance of the optic nerve, it plays a significant role in forming images in our eye. The optic nerve takes the signal from your eye to the brain, which tells you about the image you see. Once your optic nerve ceases to work, then the transmission of signal disrupts and you start to get vision problems.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in older adults aged between 60 to 65. It’s one of the hard-hitting eye diseases of all because it shows no symptoms of its occurrence until you reach an irreversible stage. When your vision is completely destroyed and at an advanced stage, you begin to notice major glaucoma symptoms in your vision. The only you can stop from growing adverse is by going for a regular eye test.
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Glaucoma test or glaucoma in an eye can be harmlessly detected by an annual eye test, once you visit an optician, it will test your eye condition and inform you about your condition a long time ago. Need an appointment? Head to Specscart, we offer FREE comprehensive eye examination where you can visit our nearby store or book an appointment for home.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Damage in the optic nerve causes Glaucoma. When the optic nerve stops functioning, the active pass of signal from the eyes to the brain stops. You develop blind spots in your visual field. The damage to the nerve optic is considered due to an increase of high pressure due to the build of fluid known as aqueous humour.
Aqueous humour liquid plays a significant role in maintaining good health of the eye. Other than nourishing the cornea and the lens by providing nutrition like amino acid and glucose, it is majorly responsible for maintaining intraocular pressure in the eyes. The high pressure that leads to glaucoma in the eye is either due to the excessive fluid secretion or not functioning of the drainage system. Aqueous fluid flows through a channel known as drainage angle and if you develop glaucoma, it's most likely to stop functioning anymore. Due to stoppage in fluid transmission, it settles at one position and builds pressure in the eye.
Who is most likely to develop Glaucoma?
The most common form of glaucoma is hereditary. You are most likely to develop if someone in your family like your brother, sister, grandfather, mother or grandma has got the condition before. Here are other reasons for developing glaucoma:
- Ethnicity -If you are African-American, Hispanic or Asian.
- Ages over 60.
- Gone through an eye injury or surgery.
- Patients of diabetes, heart disease or suffer from high blood pressure.
- Experience high blood pressure in the eyes.
- Early complexities with Optic nerve.
- Use Eye-drops or pills.
What are the glaucoma types?
There are four main types of Glaucoma that are common among people. Here are four main types and how it affects your eyes.
1. Open-angle Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma is one of the common forms of glaucoma types, almost 90% of the U.K population suffer from this particular type of all. It’s also the most misfortunate one because people don’t see any early signs or symptoms of emergence of this eye disease. It’s known as open-angle glaucoma because there’s a visible opening in the drainage canal. Doctors are not yet sure of what actually causes open-angle glaucoma but it is most likely due to high pressure that builds up around the eye. The visible opening of the drainage system led to not draining off the liquid fast enough hence it is bound to create pressure. The increasing pressure affects the working of the optic nerve and you start to develop blindness.
2. Angle-closure Glaucoma
Angle-closure glaucoma is a very acute type in all the groups of glaucoma. It takes place when the drainage canals are either blocked or covered with some part. The drainage system that is formed by the cornea and iris is blocked with the bulging iris. The iris narrows down when the pupil enlarges too fast and too much, it is most likely to happen when we enter a dark room, the sudden shift of light causes the change. Just when iris blocks down the canals, the fluid is not able to circulate throughout the eyes and hence the pressure increases gradually.
Normal-tension glaucoma is a severe condition where the optic nerve is damaged directly without any eye pressure than the normal range. There’s no explanation behind how it is caused by doctors. The main factor behind normal-tension glaucoma is not eye pressure but abnormalities in the blood flow to the optic nerve. The optic nerve can also be damaged due to the structural weakness of the optic nerve tissue.
4. Congenital Glaucoma
Glaucoma can happen to you when you were a baby or at a very young age. In the case of congenital glaucoma, you experience the symptom quite early compared to others. It occurs when the drainage channels of your idea don’t properly develop when you are in the womb.
What are Glaucoma symptoms?
Glaucoma symptoms are very less to differentiate and identify the eye disease way before its advance development. However, there are quite a few identical symptoms of glaucoma and depending on its type there are various kinds. Here are as follows:
Symptoms of Open-angle Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma is one of the trickiest vision loss diseases that is painlessly lost in a fraction of second without giving a warning. Here are the symptoms you might be able to see when you are suffering from Open-angle Glaucoma:
- You lose your peripheral vision.
- You can only see objects directly in front of you, not on sides.
Symptoms of Normal-tension Glaucoma
The symptoms of normal-tension glaucoma include:
- Migraine and headaches
- Cold hands and feet.
- Low or mediate blood pressure.
Symptoms of Angle-closure Glaucoma
Also known as narrow-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is quite a rare form of glaucoma. However, it is known for developing way too fast and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms of Angle-closure Glaucoma are:
- Sudden sight loss.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Blurry and hazy vision or image.
- Intense head and eyes pain and fatigue.
- Rainbow light or circles circulating around light area.
Symptoms of Congenital Glaucoma
As you are already aware of congenital glaucoma however the early signs or symptoms of childhood glaucoma can differ. Symptoms may include:
- Intense light sensitivity
- Vision Loss
- Big sized Eye and Cornea
- Overflow of tears, not natural tear formation
- Hazy grey Cornea also is known as corneal opacification
What is the method of Glaucoma Test?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that is known to be in existence when it is at an ultimate stage. However, there are many steps you can do to diagnose glaucoma before it becomes detrimental. Here are some:
Routine Eye tests - Annual or routine eye tests are immensely essential for everyone, not just older adults. It helps you to know about the important changes in your eyes. Routine eye test helps to notice any major changes in the optic nerve. If there is any, the doctor will make you go through a special glaucoma test that is different from normal ones.
5 Common Glaucoma Tests
- Tonometry - It helps you to know the pressure within the eye.
- Ophthalmoscopy - It helps the doctor to examine the optic nerve damage or changes.
- Perimetry - Also known as visual field testing, it helps you to get a visual test that produces a map of your whole field of vision.
- Gonioscopy - It helps to detect the angle where the iris meets the cornea and determine the state of it. It helps to know if it's open, wide, narrow or closed.
- Pachymetry - It's the simple and painless test of all, it helps to know the thickness of the cornea.
What is the method of Glaucoma Prevention?
- Glaucoma can be prevented in certain situations but not always. Here are some steps/glaucoma natural remedy you can take from your side to prevent it:
- Take regular eye test - Go for eye test especially when you are turning old. It helps you to keep a grasp on your eye health
- as developing eye condition at old age is significantly common.
- Exercise and Eat Green - Exercise and greens can help you to prevent glaucoma by reducing the increase in eye pressure.
- Know knowledge of family eye health history - The main types of glaucoma also involves hereditary glaucoma as well. Prior knowledge helps you prevent it.
- Wear Protective Glasses - If you are doing any extreme activity or sport that includes self eye harm then it's highly advised to use protective glasses.
- Use prescribed Eye drops - Eye Drops can help you to reduce the high pressure. Hence use prescribed eye drops recommended by opticians after proving your eye condition.
Common Questions about Glaucoma
Q: 1 Can Glaucoma be cured?
Ans. Glaucoma can’t be completely cured but it can be made less severe or could be controlled from turning you blind. A procedure like a laser, surgical operation, pills and eye drops can help to prevent the process from furthering.
Q: 2 Can we get Glaucoma with diabetes?
Ans. Yes! If you have diabetes then the chances of getting glaucoma are at a higher stake.
Q: 3 Are Glaucoma and cataract the same thing?
Ans. Glaucoma and cataract are two different things. A cataract is caused by the change in the lens because the light is not easy to enter the eye and hence makes things cloudy. Glaucoma happens due to buildup pressure in the eye due to damage or change in the optic nerve.
Q: 4 What is the difference between normal eye pressure and glaucoma eye pressure?
Ans. The normal eye pressure ranges from 12-22 mm Hg as eye pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury. However, if your eye pressure is over 21 mmHg then it's very uncommon pressure for good eye health.
Q: 5 How is glaucoma treated?
Ans. Is glaucoma treatable? No, not completely but could be controlled. Glaucoma is treated differently depending on the severity of your eye condition. It can be treated by lowering the eye pressure, prescription eye drops, surgery, laser treatment or oral medications.
Q: 6 Is glaucoma genetic?
Ans. Out of the four main types of glaucoma discussed above, the most common type known as primary open-angle glaucoma is hereditary. Yes! It can be passed on from your family members and if anyone in your family has had it then you are at higher risk than anyone on this planet.
Q: 7 Is it common to get glaucoma in children?
Ans. No! It’s not common but it's a rare condition that is either inherited from the parent or caused by improper eye development from birth.
Q: 8 Can glaucoma cause blindness?
Ans. Yes! Glaucoma at its advanced stage is responsible for causing permanent vision loss or complete eye blindness within a few years.