Glaucoma is an eye disorder that can lead to blindness if patients are not careful. While eye doctors cannot cure glaucoma, they can prevent blindness resulting from glaucoma if the condition is detected and treated early. Glaucoma comes without warning, and it is only a thorough eye checkup that can reveal signs of this disorder in its earliest stages.
More about Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve is damaged, leading to loss of vision and permanent blindness if neglected.
The optic nerve is important because it carries electrical impulses from the retina to the brain, where they are deciphered and made sense of for the benefit of the viewer. If the optic nerve is damaged, it cannot function properly; and if the optic nerve cannot function, the person cannot see. One of the major causes of damage to the optic nerve is increase in intraocular pressure.
In its initial stages, glaucoma has no symptoms, but as the damage to the optic nerve continues, patients notice that their peripheral vision has diminished. If neglected, the condition can lead to loss of central vision and ultimately total loss of vision.
Glaucoma need not always be caused by increase in intraocular pressure. This variety of glaucoma is caused by poor flow of blood to the optic nerve.
There are several types of glaucoma, but most of them can be placed under the open angle glaucoma or closed angle glaucoma categories.
The most common variety of glaucoma is primary chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG), which is caused by the inability of the eye to drain fluid properly owing to which intraocular pressure builds up.
Congenital glaucoma or glaucoma that occurs at birth is extremely rare. It is caused by the improper fluid drainage facilities in the eye, leading to rise in intraocular pressure and damage to the optic nerve.
People can get secondary open angle glaucoma because of eye injury or other conditions such as cataract, inflammation of the iris, diabetes, and others.
In case of closed angle glaucoma, the drainage angle closes completely, trapping fluid within the eye, increasing pressure inside it, and leading to damage of the optic nerve.
Glaucoma can never be cured, but it can definitely be controlled. On the other hand, if you ignore it or fail to get your eyes examined regularly so that the condition can be detected in the early stages, it can lead to irreversible nerve damage and blindness.
Usually, the intraocular pressure can be brought back to normal and further vision loss and nerve damage can be curbed by the use of eye drops, surgical procedures, laser, or even pills.
You need not let this disorder scare you. If your ophthalmologist informs you that you have glaucoma, it does not necessarily mean that you will lose your vision. On the contrary, you can easily prevent vision loss now that the ophthalmologist has detected this condition. You may lose your vision slightly, but eye drops will control the situation.