Glaucoma is an eye disorder that causes the damage of the optic nerve, which is important to normal vision. The damage of the optic nerve in glaucoma usually occurs as a result of the high pressure in the eyes. According to statistics, glaucoma is one of the most prevalent eye diseases in the world. There are two types of glaucoma. There are various types of glaucoma. Some of them include open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs gradually and slowly over a long period of time. It is usually not associated with pain. However, the peripheral vision of the patient might begin to deteriorate, which would be followed by the loss of the central vision, which could lead to blindness if not promptly treated. On the other hand, closed-angle glaucoma presents gradually and can also present suddenly. The sudden presentation of closed-angle glaucoma can lead to severe pains, associated with redness of the eyes, nausea, mid-dilated pupil and so on. Some of the risk factors of glaucoma include an increase in the intraocular pressure, high blood pressure, family history of the patient and so on. This disease is usually diagnosed by eye examination. The physician would also take the medical and family history of the patient. The progression of this disease can be slowed down with medications, surgery and laser treatment. The primary goal of the treatment is to reduce the intraocular pressure. Exosomes are also used for the treatment of glaucoma.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Glaucoma?
The signs and symptoms of glaucoma depend on the type and severity of the condition. As an illustration, the symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include the following;
- Patients might experience tunnel vision. This tends to occur in the advanced stages of the disease.
- Patients might present with blind spots in their peripheral or central vision. This could be in both eyes.
Some of the signs and symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma include the following;
- Patients might experience pain in their eyes. This might be accompanied by a severe headache.
- Patients might also see halos around lights.
- Redness of eyes.
- Patients might present with blurred vision.
- Patients might experience nausea and vomiting.
Glaucoma has a high chance of developing into blindness, if not well managed.
What Are The Causes Of Glaucoma?
There are various causes of glaucoma. However, this depends on the type of glaucoma. Below are some of the common causes of glaucoma;
- Diet: Studies have shown that the consumption of caffeine increases intraocular pressure in people affected with glaucoma. However, it doesn’t affect people with normal and healthy eyes. There has been no evidence to show that vitamin deficiencies lead to the development of glaucoma in humans.
- Genetics: Research has shown that people that have a relative, especially first degree relative with glaucoma have a high risk of developing the disease. In addition, open-angle glaucoma is associated with mutations in various genes.
- Ethnicity: People from East Asia, have a high risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma as compared to other ethnic groups.
What Are The Types Of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a general term for any condition that causes the damage to the optic nerve, and that can eventually lead to vision loss. The main cause of open-angle glaucoma is an increased intraocular pressure, which can be due to many reasons, such as obstruction of the draining channels, or the abnormally small angle between the cornea and the iris. Glaucoma can be divided into two, these are
- Open-angle glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma is a condition in which there is a high intraocular pressure in the eyes. This is usually due to the blockage of the drainage channels, which subsequently leads to the build of pressure in the eyes. This high pressure leads to the damage of the optic nerve and presents as a progressive loss of vision. This usually starts with the loss of peripheral vision, until it gradually progresses to the complete loss of vision. It’s the most predominant type of glaucoma.
- Closed-angle glaucoma: Also known as narrow-angle glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma, there is a contact between the iris and the trabecular meshwork, that obstructs the flow of fluid from the anterior chamber of the eyes. The contact between the two parts of the eye may progressively damage the draining ability of the meshwork until it stops or reduces the rate at which it produces aqueous humor. As compared to open-angle glaucoma, the onset of this condition is sudden, and it’s associated with other symptoms such as pain. This condition should be treated as an emergency
- Normal tension glaucoma: This is a condition in which the optic nerve is impaired even though their intraocular pressure is normal.
- Secondary glaucoma: This is a condition in which the glaucoma is caused by another disease, medication or trauma. These conditions increase the pressure within the eyes, and leads to the damage of the optic nerve, eventually leading to the loss of vision, if not well managed. Examples of drugs that can lead to secondary glaucoma are steroids
How Common Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. According to statistics, about 3 million people in the United States are affected by glaucoma. In fact, the majority of people affected by this disease might not know that they have the disease. This is because glaucoma is usually asymptomatic initially, until much later after the disease progresses.
What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Glaucoma?
There are some factors that increase the chances of developing glaucoma. Some of these factors include the following;
- Increased intraocular pressure.
- Age: Glaucoma tends to occur more in old adults. This disease is prevalent in people above the age of 60.
- Family history: People with a family history of glaucoma have a high risk of developing the disease.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
Open-angle glaucoma can be treated by using eye drops. Laser surgery can also be used for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma. Conventional surgeries are used for the treatment of those with congenital glaucoma.
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