WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a gradual,progressive optic nerve disease involving the two eyes(but not at same severity) it is characterized by optic nerve head damage and loss of vision and may or may not be due to raised intraocular pressure.It results in irreversible blindness,faster if not detected early and treatment initiated.It is a second common cause of blindness.
WHAT CAUSES GLAUCOMA?
The eye has a liquid called the aqueous humour maintains the shape and pressure of the eye.The aqueous humour is produced and drained at a certain rate via a drainage system (trabecular meshwork) in order to maintain the right pressure.When there is a blockage at the point where the liquid drains,the level of the liquid rises,pressure builds up in the eye .The high pressure affects the blood supply to nerve that supplies the eye (optic nerve),causing drainage.
ARE THERE TYPES OF GLAUCOMA?
There two types of glaucoma.
In this type,There is no other disease before the onset of the disease,It can be acute or chronic simple.
Acute (Angle -closure) Glaucoma
In this type there is abrupt or sudden rise in pressure due to sudden closure of the angle.Usually occurs in one eye.There is pain and blurring of vision associated with information.
Chronic Simple(Open angle) Glaucoma
In this type the pressure increases gradually without producing pain.The visual loss is insidious
This may occur when ocular or non-ocular diseases lead to glaucoma by causing pathological disc damage via elevated intraocular pressure.It may be painful.The diseases that may lead to secondary glaucoma include-uveitis diabetic eye disease,lens-induced glaucoma etc. The pressure -increases gradually without producing pain and the visual loss is insidious.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- There may be pain or no pain .
- Blurred Vision
- Bumping on objects in advanced cases.
- Halos around lights(in acute angle -closure glaucoma)
RISK FACTOR TO THE DISEASE
There are factors that may increase the occurrence of the disease.They include:-
- Family history of the disease.
- Old age -people over 80 years old,one in ten suffers it.
- Shot sightedness
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Thyroid eye disease
- Elevated intraocular pressure
HOW TO TREAT AND MANAGE GLAUCOMA
The treatment options available include use of eye drops or surgery.The aim of the treatment is to reduce the progression of the eye damage,not to cure it,submit to any treatment option advised by the physician.
CONSEQUENCES OF GLAUCOMA
- It causes blindness
PREVENTION OF THE DISEASE
- Knowledge of the cause of the disease and treatment options through health education is essential.
- Eye check-up at least yearly for early detection of the disease.
- Stop smoking
- Control hypertension and diabetes.
- Eat fruits rich in carotene eg carrot,paw paw etc.
- Primary Glaucoma may not be preventable when you prevent the cause eg early treatment of diabetes mellitus,uveitus and early surgery in lens-induced glaucoma
- Early eye checks in those with family history of the disease.
- At least yearly eye examination are advised but 3-6 months for those with family history who have not developed the disease.