Glaucoma or Kala-Motia is an eye disease which is one of the leading cause of blindness. Glaucoma is fairly common in adults over the age of 35. When diagnosed early, blindness from glaucoma is almost always preventable.
Glaucoma is a disease which afflicts over 60 million people across the world – glaucoma and more than half of them do not even realize it until it is too late. Rightly called the Silent Vision Stealer, glaucoma creeps up on unsuspecting victims and by the time it is detected, it is often too late to save the vision.
Glaucoma affects the optic nerve which transmits visual messages to the brain. The nutrition to the eye is supplied by a fluid and in normal eyes the pressure of this fluid remains balanced. But with age, disease, trauma or other factors, the channels carrying the fluid gets blocked, increasing the pressure inside the eye.
According to Dr. Vineet Sehgal, Senior Glaucoma Consultant, Sharp Sight eye Hospitals, “In most cases, there are no symptoms of this increased pressure. The disease works silently, damaging the outer or peripheral vision first while maintaining the central vision. By the time the problem is detected, the patient has already suffered extensive peripheral vision damage which is irreversible.”
There are three major categories of Glaucoma:
1. Primary Open Angle or Chronic Glaucoma: This is the most common form of glaucoma. Damage to the vision in this type of glaucoma is gradual and generally painless.
2. Closed Angle or Acute Glaucoma: In this type of glaucoma, the intraocular pressure increases very rapidly due to a sudden and severe block of fluid drainage within the eye. Significant symptoms indicating the presence of acute glaucoma appear immediately. This condition has to be treated quickly by an ophthalmologist otherwise blindness may occur.
3. Other type of Glaucoma such as congenital Glaucoma and Secondary Glaucoma.
Glaucoma in early stages generally does not show any noticeable symptoms. Chronic Glaucoma progresses too slowly to get noticed.
SOME COMMON SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC GLAUCOMA COULD BE:
- Inability to adjust the eyes to darkened rooms such as theaters.
- Frequent changes in eye-glass prescription.
- Gradual loss of peripheral vision.
- Blurred vision
- Poor night vision.
In case of Acute Glaucoma resulting from rapid increase in the intraocular pressure, there could be severe symptoms. These include:
- Feeling of a blind area in the field of vision.
- Seeing rainbow coloured halos around lights.
- Severe eye pain, facial pain.
- Red eye.
- Cloudy vision with halos around light.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Regular eye check-ups can help catch glaucoma at a very early stage, reducing the chances of vision loss. So, everyone who is in the high risk group should get themselves tested.
“People with a family history are at highest risk and should get an annual test done, irrespective of their age. Others who fall in this category are diabetics, hypertensive patients, thyroid patients and those with a high plus or minus power.”Dr. Vineet Sehgal, added
Which are the high risk groups who can get Glaucoma?
- Family history of glaucoma.
- History of diabetes.
- People having high minus or plus numbered glasses.
- Age above forty years.
- People suffering from hypertension
- Any body who has undergone any kind of eye surgery
- People with thyroid gland related ailments.
- People with over-mature cataracts
- People with an injury to the eye.
- People with a history of prolonged use of steroid eye drops.
Points to Remember
- There is no prevention, however, glaucoma is treatable.
- Sometimes the symptoms of glaucoma are simply not noticeable.
- Timely detection of glaucoma is a must.
- Timely treatment of glaucoma may prevent further loss of vision and blindness.