Glaucoma is a common eye condition that targets older individuals. It is a term for eye conditions affecting the general area around the optic nerve which is is an integral part of the eye as it connects the eye to the rest of a person’s body. Usually, fluid in the eye and body move around freely; however, if there is an obstruction or blockage, the pressure in the eye can build and burst.
Glaucoma is rarely ever severe or fatal. However, it does cause blindness in patients over 60 years old. Usually, blindness is permanent and unrepairable.
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There are also two distinct types of Glaucoma. The types are Open-angle Glaucoma, Angle-Closed Glaucoma, and Normal-tension Glaucoma.
People with Open-Angle Glaucoma develop this eye condition because of a lack of drainage. The reason is unknown, except there is no blockage in the drainage area. The unknown blockage causes pressure to increase slowly.
Open-Angle Glaucoma is also the most common form of all the Glaucoma types. The optic nerve suffers from damage since the eye cannot drain properly. The issue with this eye condition is a lack of symptoms.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma is a type of eye condition. During this eye condition, the iris of a person’s eye swells and bulges, preventing proper drainage. This, in turn, affects the pressure in an eye, causing irreversible damage. This type is not as common; however, there are risk groups. For example, people with narrow angles have a higher risk of this condition.
Normal-Tension Glaucoma is one of the more unknown types. There is not a lot that experts know about this particular condition. From what is known, the cause may be hereditary. Some studies have found an increase in risk if you have a parent with this same condition.
Unlike the other types, this eye condition is not affected by pressure. Instead, the pressure levels are normal, and yet drainage is obstructed. Some experts predict that Normal-Tension Glaucoma could be because of limited blood flow, although nothing is certain.
Since there are many different types and forms of Glaucoma, the symptoms vary from person to person. While this is the case, the majority of people with Glaucoma do suffer from the following symptoms:
- Itchy eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sore eyes
- Complete blindness as it develops
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, it is time to consult with a medical professional. Permanent eye damage and blindness can occur.
For a doctor to diagnose Glaucoma, they need to look at your eyes properly through different exams. Imaging tests are one of the most common ways of testing an eye. However, these imaging tests differ from an X-ray to a CT scan. In addition, since the condition shares a lot of symptoms with other eye conditions, it may take time to diagnose.
These scans take a clear image, and the doctor then makes a judgment based on the symptoms. Another less common test is a Gonioscopy. However, it can only diagnose the drainage angle. This only occurs when one or both eyes are swollen.
There is no cure for any form of Glaucoma. It is a chronic condition. While it is possible sometimes to reverse the damage, it is a complex procedure. Eye surgeries come with risks because of their location. Only a few reported cases have been identified where vision was restored!
Once the damage is already done, however, you can prevent and slow down the progression of the eye condition. Prostaglandins can be used to slow down progression at home. These are eye drop prescriptions and are easy to use. The eye drops encourage fluids to flow out of your eyes which relieves some pressure, limiting the damage on the optical nerve. However, it is essential to understand that the drops cannot stop the pressure entirely. It only releases some.
For the Angular type of Glaucoma, there is a surgery or therapy commonly used on patients. It is rarely used but has positive results for rare occasions. Laser therapy is a type of therapy where a laser is used to unclog the channels. It is a more straightforward fix since they get clogged up because of the angle.
Lifestyle Changes and Management
Besides medications, therapies, and surgeries, you can also make some lifestyle changes to prevent and manage the eye condition. For instance, it is possible to minimize the risk of developing this eye condition by consuming antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and A.
Vitamins and supplements or natural fruits and foods contain these nutrients. Either way, incorporating them into your diet can strengthen your eye’s health. Exercise also reduces inflammation and pressure, but don’t overdo it! While it is beneficial to spend some time doing cardio, you can irritate the pressure and cause further pain and discomfort if you overdo it.
Experts recommend sleeping with your head slightly elevated to manage the pain and feeling of pressure on your eye and head- place a pillow underneath your head. This particular method relieves pressure as you sleep. It also helps to straighten your back throughout the day.
Living with Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye condition that experts are still trying to understand. There are three primary forms of Glaucoma, and all share different causes and symptoms. However, in almost all patients with Glaucoma, the eyes are red, irritated, and slightly swollen.
Optical nerve damage takes place, however, the exact causes are unknown, but some doctors speculate it has something to do with genetics and the natural blood flow in that area.
Either way, when the pressure builds up in the optical nerve, it causes painful damage. This damage leads to blindness with time. As scary as this sounds, you can try to prevent it by living a healthy lifestyle and strengthening the health of your eyes.
- What are the first signs of Glaucoma? You will most likely immediately notice changes in your vision such as loss of peripheral vision or seeing halos or strange light.
- What caused my Glaucoma? In most cases, Glaucoma is caused by high blood pressure inside your eyes. Though there could also be hereditary factors in play
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!