Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention
The Sneak Thief of Sight: Glaucoma
One of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide, Glaucoma can affect anyone, and is referred to as ‘the sneak thief of sight’ due to the fact that it is asymptomatic (causes no symptoms) in the initial stages, and even the subsequent loss of peripheral vision easily passes unnoticed.
Once the damage has been done, it cannot be reversed, which is why building awareness that encourages people to go in for regular eye examinations that screen for glaucoma, is mandatory. How regular these eye examinations need to be is determined by several factors including age, race and family history of the disease.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes permanent blindness by damaging your optic nerve. This damage occurs due to a rise in the pressure in your eye, caused by a buildup of fluid.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Most glaucoma sufferers experience no pain and almost no symptoms. They only become aware of the disease once they notice the blind spots on their peripheral vision. However, there are some symptoms, which may be indicative of glaucoma, so it is good to be aware of them. They include:
- Glaucoma may show some early symptoms including severe pain in the eye or forehead
- There are cases of redness of the eye
- Sufferers also report decreased or blurred vision
- Some glaucoma patients see rainbows or halos around bright lights
- Patients can also experience nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma sufferers usually suffer from painful light sensitivity or photophobia. This is primarily due to increased pressure in the eye. Crizal coatings for your lenses can help eliminate glare and soothe your eyes, helping alleviate eye discomfort.
Treatment options for Glaucoma
There are different treatment options for glaucoma sufferers, depending on the type or severity of your disease.
- Eye Drops - these are used to lower the pressure in your eye, and are usually a first attempt to control the onset of glaucoma. Often, a combination of several eye drops is required.
- Laser Therapy - this treatment varies depending on the severity of your affliction and aims to reduce the pressure in your eye.
- Surgery - when all else fails, surgery is required to repair the damage caused by glaucoma and restore vision.
What is the prognosis for Glaucoma?
Prognosis is largely dependent on how early the disease is detected. Early diagnosis, made before significant optic nerve damage occurs, offers a generally positive prognosis. A delayed diagnosis means more aggressive therapeutic measures and future visual loss is almost inevitable.
Either way, those with a diagnosis of glaucoma need to be aware that it is a lifelong disease, and total compliance with prescribed medication regimens and regular visits to the eye doctor are an absolute must.
Worried about glaucoma?
Visit your nearest eye care specialist today to find out about glaucoma