You must start treatment for glaucoma, an eye disease that often damages the optic nerve, causing vision loss and blindness, as soon as medical experts detect it. Timely treatment can prevent this eye disease. One of the major problems associated with this eye disease is that you may not be suffering from it as the symptoms start very slowly, and you hardly notice it. Timely and proper treatment can help you prevent glaucoma, one of the major reasons for blindness in the USA and other parts of the world. A report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says that over three million people in the USA have been diagnosed with glaucoma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
According to “Eyes On Eyecare,” the consciousness and confidence in diagnosing glaucoma among people are rising in the US. This year, optometrists estimated that, on average, 16% of their patients had been diagnosed with glaucoma, a 10% drop from the estimation made by last year’s set of respondents. Symptomatically, glaucoma is a tricky issue as you don’t have any symptoms at the initial stages of this disease. This is the primary reason you may not know you are suffering from glaucoma.
In the US, nearly 50% of those suffering from glaucoma do not even know that they have this blindness-causing disease. The major glaucoma symptoms are:
- Eye Pain: The early sign of glaucoma is pressure or pain in the eyes. The pain persists. The pain may be there even if you don’t exert your eyes on reading or in other works requiring constant attention of your eyes.
- Frequent Spells of Headache: This also is one of the signs of glaucoma. If you feel you have headaches even after not exerting your eyes, you must go to a doctor to check your eyes, as this could be a sign of glaucoma.
- If you see rainbow-colored halos around lights, You may have glaucoma if you find this. A healthy eye should see only rays of light around the source of the light. The healthy eye should not see colors. Hence, it is advisable that you immediately consult your ophthalmologist or eye doctor if you find rainbow vision around the source of light.
- Poor or Blurred Vision: If you have narrow or tunnel vision, you must immediately see the doctor. Blind spots, poor vision, and blurred sight could be glaucoma.
- Red Eyes: A glaucoma patient may have red eyes. This could be a sign of glaucoma. A normal pair of healthy eyes should not be red. If you find the color of your eyes is not natural and is red, you must have the eyes tested and checked.
- The feeling of Nausea: If you have regular vomiting or nausea, you should have your eyes checked. This could be a sign of glaucoma.
Medical experts are yet to find the causes of glaucoma. They don’t know why this eye disease is caused and how it is caused. Since preventing glaucoma in the natural course is not possible, you should go to your doctor to have the disease cured through medicines, laser treatment, or surgical intervention.
Glaucoma starts to damage the nerve in the back of your eye or optic nerve very slowly. Even if you have the slightest eye problem, contact an eye specialist to ensure you are not progressing toward glaucoma.
It would be best in your interest that you get a comprehensive, detailed eye exam to be sure that you are not suffering from glaucoma.
Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams play a pivotal role in detecting glaucoma early. For individuals aged 40 and above, annual comprehensive eye examinations are recommended to monitor eye health and identify any potential signs of glaucoma. These exams go beyond just measuring visual acuity and include tests like tonometry (measuring eye pressure), visual field testing, and examining the optic nerve for any damage.
Types of Glaucoma
There are several types of glaucoma, with primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma being the most common. Primary open-angle glaucoma develops gradually and is often known as the “silent thief of sight” because of its asymptomatic nature. On the other hand, Angle-closure glaucoma can cause sudden and severe symptoms, including eye pain, headaches, and blurred vision. Differentiating between these types is crucial for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.
While the accurate cause of glaucoma remains unknown, particular risk aspects can increase your chance of formulating the disease. These include age (those over 60 are at higher risk), a family history of glaucoma, being of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent, having high intraocular pressure, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The article already mentions medications, laser treatment, and surgery as treatment options for glaucoma. Expanding on this, medications can include eye drops or oral medications that help regulate eye pressure. Laser treatment, known as laser trabeculoplasty, improves the drainage of fluid from the eye, reducing pressure. Surgical interventions, like trabeculectomy or drainage devices, aim to create new pathways for fluid drainage. These treatment approaches are tailored to the specific type and severity of glaucoma a patient has.
In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle habits can also play a role in managing glaucoma. These include avoiding activities that may increase intraocular pressure, such as heavy lifting or straining, maintaining an exercise routine and healthy diet, and managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
In the USA, you have several options for glaucoma treatment. Once it is detected that you have glaucoma, you must immediately go for treatment as any delay in its treatment can further deteriorate the condition of your eyes, eventually causing blindness. Depending upon the stages of glaucoma, your eye doctor can give you medicines to prevent damage to your optic nerve. If the doctors feel mere prescribing medicines would not suffice to protect your optic nerve, they may resort to either laser treatment or surgery. Eye surgery would be the last option when the medicines or laser treatment fails. Doctors can drain the fluid from the eyes through surgical interference to restore sight and prevent blindness.