Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. It is estimated that half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it.
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
It was once thought that high pressure within the eye, also known as interocular pressure or IOP, is the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with “normal” levels of pressure can experience vision loss from glaucoma.
Can I have Glaucoma ?
Unfortunately glaucoma is a disease, which cannot be seen or felt by the patients in the early stages. It is usually spotted during the course of a routine eye check-up done by an Eye Surgeon, when high IOP is suspected and more detailed test is conducted. The mistake that most people commonly make is getting only their glass numbers checked by an Optician ignoring the need for a detailed eye check up.
Sometimes the patient discovers it and come to the Doctor with complaints of mild headache, fuzzy vision in morning or seeing rainbow colors around lights. These all indicate raised IOP.
Get an Eye Check up routinely above the age of 40 years.
Risk factors for Glaucoma are:
Age: Glaucoma is much more common among older people. You are six times more likely to get glaucoma if you are over 40 years old.
Family History Of Glaucoma: The most common type of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma, is hereditary. If members of your immediate family have glaucoma, you are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population. Family history of glaucoma increases the risk of glaucoma four to nine times.
Indiscriminate use of Steroids: Studies indicate Steroids increase interocular pressure. These could be in the form of Oral medications, Steroid Inhalers and Steroid Eye Drops used for long periods of time.
Injury to Eye: Injury to the eye may cause secondary open angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later.
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