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  • Dr. Frank Baldwin

Glaucoma: Causes, Types, Signs & Symptoms, Prevention and Glaucoma Treatment



What is Glaucoma?


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve of the eye. Damaged optic nerve resulting in vision loss and blindness. This is the most common disease for people over the age of 60, but it can also occur at any age.



What Causes Glaucoma?


Inside the eye, a fluid called aqueous humor flows out through a mesh-like channel. When this mesh-like channel gets blocked, the aqueous humor builds up in the front part of the eye that results in increased and abnormal pressure. This abnormal high pressure is called intraocular pressure. This is generally what damages the optic nerve. If this worsens, it can cause permanent vision loss or blindness.

Glaucoma can be passed from parents to children.


Moreover, the following are the causes of glaucoma:


· Blocked blood vessels inside the eye.


· Blunt or chemical injury to the eye.


· Severe eye infection.


· Inflammation inside the eye.


Types of Glaucoma


There are mainly two types of glaucoma people get. One of them is Open-angle glaucoma and the other one is Angle-closure glaucoma.



Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common glaucoma. It is often called as wide-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma, the drain structure of the eye looks alright, but the problem is, the liquid does not flow out as it should.



Angle-closure glaucoma is also called as acute angle-closure glaucoma or Chronic angle closure. Some called it narrow-angle glaucoma because the drain space between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow. That’s why the eye can’t drain as it should. The eye liquid builds up. As a result, the pressure in the eye increases gradually.



Besides these two main types of glaucoma, people also get these less common types of glaucoma:


Secondary glaucoma occurs mainly due to diabetes or cataracts when they add pressure in the eye.


Normal-tension glaucoma occurs if the optic nerve is damaged or if there are blind spots in one’s vision.


Pigmentary glaucoma occurs when the pigment granules from your iris build up in the drainage channels, get into the fluid inside the eye while clogging fluid when exiting the eye.


Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms


The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary on the type and the stage of one’s condition. Most forms of glaucoma even do not show any signs, symptoms, or any pain. The effect of glaucoma is so gradual. Some people may not even notice any symptoms in vision until they are at the advanced stage condition. That is the reason glaucoma is often called the sneak thief of vision. However, the condition gets worse over time.


Here are some signs and symptoms of glaucoma:


Open-angle glaucoma usually doesn’t expose any signs or symptoms. The main symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are loss of side, patchy blind spots in your side or central vision and tunnel vision in the advanced stages.

On the other hand, angle-closure glaucoma exposes its symptoms faster and does the damage quickly.

Here are some signs and symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible.


· Blurred vision.


· Acute eye strain and eye pain.


· Exhibit halos around lights.


· Severe headache.


· Nausea and vomiting.


· Redness in your eye.


· Sudden loss of vision.



Glaucoma Risk Factors


Who is more likely to get glaucoma? That’s a good question. Here are some risk factors for glaucoma. You may get glaucoma if you:


· Are over 60 years old.


· Are nearsighted or farsighted


· Your family has glaucoma history. Since it tends to run in families.


· Have diabetes.


· Already have poor vision.


· Have previous eye injury or eye infections.


· Have high blood pressure, heart diseases, or sickle cell anemia.


· Have high eye pressure.


· Have corneas that are thinner than usual.


· Take steroids such as prednisone.


· Take corticosteroid medications for a long time.



Note: African American, Russian, Japanese, Irish, Inuit, Hispanic or Scandinavian descent is most likely to get glaucoma.


Glaucoma Prevention: How to Prevent Glaucoma?


Since glaucoma does not show any signs or symptoms in its early stage, visiting your eye doctor regularly is the best way to prevent permanent vision loss. Remember, vision can’t be recovered or brought back. Frequent eye check-ups. Lowering eye pressure can help you treat glaucoma before your eye reaches its serious stage.



1. Regular eye check-ups: Take regular eye examinations. That will help you to detect the glaucoma stages before it causes severe damages. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having an eye exam:


· Every five to 10 years if you're under 40 years old;


· Every two to four years if you're 40 to 54 years old;


· Every one to three years if you're 55 to 64 years old;


· Every one to two years if you're older than 65.



2. Know family eye health history: Learn whether your family has glaucoma or not. If your family has glaucoma, you are at high risk of having glaucoma. So, have a glaucoma screening frequently.



3. Eye exercise: Regular eye exercise reduces eye pressure gradually. Consult your doctor about the appropriate eye exercise program.



4. Wear eye protection: Serious eye injuries can cause glaucoma too. To avoid any kind of serious eye injury, use eye protective glasses, especially in the outdoors when playing sports or working with power tools like welding work.



Glaucoma Treatment


If you have glaucoma, do not panic. If you are at an early stage of glaucoma, it can often be prevented with appropriate early glaucoma treatment. So, you may able to keep your vision if you strictly follow the glaucoma treatment plan. By following some self-care steps and the advice of your doctor, it is still possible to prevent vision loss or at least slow down the progress of glaucoma.



1. Take prescribed eyedrops: Glaucoma eyedrops lower the creation of fluid in your eye or increase the liquid’s flow out. As a result, it can lower the risk of high eye pressure. Always use prescribed eye drops regularly, even when the symptoms are gone.


2. Oral Medication: If your doctor prescribes oral medication to improve drainage of fluid in your eye, take the medication regularly.


3. Surgery: To treat glaucoma, you can take laser surgery or microsurgery. It is recommended to consult your doctor.



Conclusion


We want to remind you once again, vision can’t be recovered or brought back. If you have any signs or symptoms, please seek medical help immediately. Visit an experienced ophthalmologist. Your doctor will help you to prevent glaucoma. To treat this eye disease, Baldwin Eye Care can be the best glaucoma screening and preventing solution for you and your family.

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1721 W. Main St. Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Tel: (608) 837-7325

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