Before we think about ways to prevent glaucoma, we need to know
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition of the eyes, that causes damage to the optic nerves and worsens over time.
In this situation the pressure in the eyes builds up, constricting the optical nerves, damaging them, which finally leads to blinding. Healthy eyes, circulate a clear fluid called the aqueous humor in front of the eyes. This fluid is created continually, circulated and then flowed out by the eyes through a mesh-like channel, in equal amounts. When you have glaucoma, the eyes fail to flow out this fluid thus increasing the pressure in the eyes.
There are several types of glaucoma
- Open angle glaucoma- a chronic case in which the meshwork of the eyes get blocked, creating a fluid build up. Generally open angle glaucoma, has no symptoms in its early stage and the affected person enjoys normal vision. Gradually, blank spots appear, goes unnoticed until the spots become larger.
- Normal tension glaucoma- Eye pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury(mm Hg). Normal eye pressure is considered to be 21 mm Hg. People with normal tension or low tension glaucoma have eye pressure less than normal, but optic nerve damage and loss of vision still occur, They ophthalmologists treat them similarly as the open-angle glaucoma patients.
- Closed angle glaucoma- a case when the drainage angle of the eyes get blocked. The eye pressure rises very fast, the iris ( the Coloured portion of the eye), partially or completely block off the drainage angle. Patients of Asian descent and those with farsightedness are more at risk for developing this kind of glaucoma. The symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma attacks are :
Severe eye pain or eye brow pain
Redness of the eye
Blurred and decreased vision
- Congenital glaucoma-this is a rare type of glaucoma, inherited, occurs in children and infants. Can lead to blindness if not treated at an early stage.
The symptoms are:
Sensitivity to light
Frequent rubbing of the eyes
Clouding of the cornea
- Secondary glaucoma- occurs due to eye injuries or other eye conditions, like retinal detachment, cataract formation, inflammation in the eye,bleeding, corneal edema, that are already present. These cause the abnormal rise in eye pressure, resulting in glaucoma.
Who are at the risk of developing Glaucoma?
Some people are at the risk of developing Glaucoma and should consult an ophthalmologist at regular intervals to get their eyes checked.
The risk factors include:
- Far or nearsightedness
- Past eye injury
- Elevated eye pressure
- Conditions that affect blood flow , like diabetes, low blood pressure and migraines.
- Family history
How to Prevent Glaucoma?
Regular eye check-ups are the best way to prevent glaucoma. Consult an ophthalmologist, make appointments and keep those appointments
- Before 40, once every two- four years
- From 40 -54, once every one-three years
- From 55-64 , once every one- two years
From 65 onward visit your ophthalmologist every six to twelve months.
Measures to prevent glaucoma from getting worse are:
- Timely diagnosis
- Treatment with glaucoma medications
- Surgical treatments
- Exercising, to improve overall health to avoid other degenerative diseases
- Wearing protective eyewear to avoid eye injuries