The symptoms may appear gradually in case of open-angle glaucoma and many people may not have any symptoms in the early stages.
However, closed-angle glaucoma often presents with symptoms that develop suddenly and is usually accompanied by difficulty in vision. Acute closed glaucoma needs surgical procedure because it is extremely quick. In fact, if it is not treated within 12 hours of experiencing the symptoms, it can even lead to complete blindness.
Glaucoma can also occur in infants. Thankfully, there are symptoms to this type of glaucoma which is also known as congenital glaucoma in the infants. Following are the symptoms:
- Constant and consistent eye rubbing which signifies irritation
- Keeping eyes closed all the time
- Being sensitive to light
- A larger cornea
Overall, if bright lights bother you way too much than it should and you have constant pain around the eyes and adjoined nerves and area, it’s good to get yourself checked.
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Causes of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is caused due to a high buildup of eye fluid, causing immense pressure on the optic nerve. It plugs the canal that drains out this fluid. While blockage of the canal can be one of the causes, the other maybe an excess secretion of the fluid, so much so that the canal is incapable of flushing it at the right rate. Thus, it accumulates and creates pressure on the nerves.
No research has yet been able to pinpoint the exact reason why this pressure builds up.
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Risk Factors of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a genetic disorder. Other than that, people with low blood flow may suffer from it. People who are over the age of 40 are more at risk, but infants and young adults too can suffer from it. The following are some people who are more at risk of contracting the condition:
- Diabetic patients
- People over the age of 40
- African Americans, Irish, Hispanic, and Japanese people
- People with a genetic history of the condition
- People with a weak vision
- People with thin corneas
- People who have got their eyes injured
- Nearsighted or farsighted people
Diagnosis of Glaucoma
There are two ways in which the doctor can diagnose you for glaucoma:
This is a test to inspect the drainage angle.
This is a test which measures the eye pressure.
Visual field test
This is to check and assess areas of vision loss.
A dilated eye examination is conducted to test the damage.
This is a way to measure the corneal thickness.
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Treatment for Glaucoma
Once glaucoma has been diagnosed, the treatment needs to be started as soon as possible. Most of the time, the patient is recommended eye drops and oral medicines. Laser treatment is also known to be beneficial to stop the damage where it is as it helps to retain the remaining eyesight.
Surgery is considered the last option, where medication and laser do not work. Drainage tubes can also be used wherein the surgeons insert tubes to drain the excess fluid that is building the pressure on the eye nerve. Another way is Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery or MIGS which is less risky and involves less post-surgery care. It is done in combination with cataract surgery.
You can decide which treatment option is best for you after a thorough discussion with your doctor. The course of treatment will be decided on your condition.
Lifestyle Changes for Glaucoma
There are a few lifestyle changes that can help you catch glaucoma on time and even prevent loss of sight. Just be cautious and do the following:
- Make sure you visit your doctor periodically for eye exams.
- Do mild exercise every day, even if it means a little jogging.
- Use protective eyewear when out in the sun or even when using equipment such as laptops and smartphones.
- Be aware of your family history and figure out the genetic defects, if any.
Overall, just know about your body and keep a lookout for anything out of the ordinary. Also, never miss your doctor’s appointment. Glaucoma is a silent predator. Regular visits can help in detecting it in the early stages.