Glaucoma Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
Today Glaucoma is one of the biggest reasons to cause blindness all over the world. It usually belongs to that group of eye diseases that damages the main vision nerve i.e. optic nerve. In its early stage, this disease doesn’t have any symptoms and the disease becomes evident at the most advanced stages and this makes it more dangerous than other eye-diseases.
For this very reason, you need to take preventive measures to protect your eyes even when you have perfect visual acuity. Here we will be discussing its symptoms, treatments and preventive ways to prevent Glaucoma. But first, let’s get into the details and background of this common eye disease.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because it generally does not produce any effective signs and symptoms until and unless a notable vision loss is observed. But early warning signs such as-
- Severe pain in the eyes,
- Extreme redness in the eyes,
- A sudden headache,
- nausea and vomiting,
- The appearance of halos or rainbow rings around the lights,
- Cloudy eyes, etc can be the potential signs leading to Glaucoma.
However, it is referred to as a disease in which the fluid inside the eye rises and damages your eye’s optic nerve making you completely blind. It gets worse during the time and known to pass on in families from generations to generations.
Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma-
Various types of glaucoma usually don’t show any symptoms and no pain is felt during the process of this disease, a direct vision loss occurs at the advanced stages. For this very reason, it’s highly important for you to have comprehensive eye-checkups, so your Glaucoma Specialist can detect any dangerous change in your vision and can help you with further treatments.
The most common forms of Glaucoma are-
- Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and
- Acute angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).
Symptoms of Open-angle Glaucoma (POAG)-
It is often referred to as a “sneak thief of sight” because no warning signs are observed until complete loss of vision has occurred. It usually occurs very slowly and in some cases, the vision loss is not noticeable for many years. Gradual peripheral loss in your vision and formation of tunnel vision in the advanced stage are the potential signs.
In most of the cases, people who suffer from open-angle glaucoma don’t notice any vision loss because the initial stages usually involve loss of side or peripheral vision and the clarity of vision is maintained until late in the disease. And by the time the disease is diagnosed, it becomes quite advanced. However, the loss of vision from glaucoma is irreversible even with an eye-surgery. It is highly recommended to consult an eye-specialist for regular checkups. And in case you get diagnosed, the glaucoma specialist can prescribe certain treatment to help you avoid your vision loss.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type which is still affecting about four million Americans. People who are diabetic or have cardiovascular diseases are at increased risks. And if your parents or siblings are suffering from glaucoma then there might be chances that you may suffer the same.
Symptoms of Acute-angle closure glaucoma (ACG)-
It is also called narrow-angle Glaucoma, where the formation of the angle is usually closed which creates a pressure in the eye leading to damage to the optic nerve and clarity of vision. The pressure can arise suddenly or in a moderate form. The early stages of this disease usually involve the closure of the angle where the pressure is not much to affect the optic nerve.
The symptoms include blurred vision, extreme eye and head pains, feeling of nausea and vomiting, the appearance of rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights, redness in the eye, halos around lights, and in some cases a sudden loss of vision can be seen too.
The symptoms of this narrow-angle Glaucoma are easily detectable and the damages are caused very fast. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, immediately consult an eye specialist for further treatments.
The top-most priority during the treatment of glaucoma is to reduce the intraocular pressure to avoid further loss of vision. Treatment might involve surgery, laser treatments or medications depending upon the seriousness of the eye. Firstly, the specialists will start the treatment by prescribing the eye-drops and if this is not enough, your eye-specialist might ask you to get further advanced treatments. Other treatments may include:
- MEDICATIONS- Various medicines are designed to reduce the intraocular pressure for your eye. These medications include eye-drops and pills, but the most common form is the eye-drop. The specialist might prescribe you either one or a combination of both of them to help you with your eye.
- SURGERY- There might be reasons which can increase the intraocular pressure in your eye making the situation worse. The surgeries might be recommended to provide a path for the fluid to pass or to destroy some tissues which might be responsible for the increase in the fluid.
- REGULAR EYE-CHECKUPS- In order to prevent Glaucoma, regular eye-checkups can be the best option to prevent further damages. The range of checkups depends on the age factor as well.
- In every four years- Below the age 30
- In every three years- Between the age of 40 to 50
- In every two years- Between the age of 50 to 60
- In every six months- After age 60
- REGULAR EXERCISES- Indulging yourself in regular exercises will benefit you in the long run. Walking for at least three times a week will help you reduce intraocular pressure. That’s why it is highly important to exercise regularly to remain healthy and fit.
- REDUCE YOUR SUGAR-UPTAKE- Foods composed of sugar such as potatoes, rice, cereals, etc increase the insulin levels in your body leading to an increase in blood pressure and eye pressure. During the course of time, this will make your body insulin-resistant and insulin-resistance is directly linked to raised eye pressure.
- PROTECT YOUR EYES- Make it a habit to wear protective eyewear during sports and other high -risk activities as eye injuries can lead you to glaucoma. So wearing a protective eye-gear can help you a lot to prevent any disease later.
- INTAKE OF DARK-COLOURED BERRIES- Blueberries and cranberries are composed of bioflavonoids which are highly efficient in preventing macular degeneration. These berries strengthen the capillaries which provide nutrition to the nerves and eye muscles. But don’t consume them in abundance as they are rich in sugars and this can increase your insulin levels too.
When it comes to the signs of eye-diseases, we often ignore them and this usually leads us to dangerous vision problems or complete vision loss. Glaucoma is one of the common eye-diseases which can’t be prevented, but it’s crucial to catch it up as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. The best way to prevent this is to have an appointment with an ophthalmologist at regular intervals. Simple routine tests are sufficient to detect glaucoma at early stages and can help you go a long way in maintaining your vision and hence, your quality of life.