Understand What Glaucoma Is and How To Prevent It
Edited by Debbie, Charmed, Eng
For just a moment, keep your eyes focused on the last word of this sentence. Without trying to move your eyes, could you see some of the area below, above,and on either side of this page? You probably could, thanks to peripheral vision. This gives you the capability to sidestep objects on the ground and avoid bumping into walls when you walk. If you are driving a car, it can alert you of a person who has stepped off the curb. But even as you read this page your peripheral vision could slowly be dying without you even realizing it. In the world approximately 66 million people are affected by a group of eye diseases known as glaucoma. Of that number, over 5 million have become completely blind making it the third largest cause of losing eyesight. Who is at risk of developing glaucoma? How is it identified, and treated?
The eye's inelasticity is obtained through pressure. The soft tissues of the eye are inflated up, just like a balloon. This pump, called the ciliary body transfers a fluid called aqueous humor from the blood vessels into the eye. The aqueous flows deep inside the eye, giving nourishment to living structures and returns to the bloodstream through a filter-like formation called the trabecular meshwork.
If this meshwork becomes blocked for any reason, the pressure inside the eye will rise, and begin to damage the fragile nerve fibers at the back of the eye. This disorder is called open-angle glaucoma and accounts for about 90 percent of all cases.
The pressure inside the eye known as intraocular pressure can change from hour to hour and is affected by a number of factors including your heartbeat, the amount of fluids that you drink, and your body position. These natural changes cause no injury to your eye. High pressure in the eye is not by itself proof of glaucoma, since normal eye pressure changes from person to person. IOP is still considered an indication of glaucoma. A unique form of this disease is called acute, or angle-closure. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, this kind includes a sudden increase in pressure in the eye. It can cause severe pain, along with distorted vision and vomiting. If this is not treated within hours of the beginning of symptoms, it can cause blindness. Another type is called secondary glaucoma. As the name indicates, this kind is triggered by other conditions found in the eye such as cataracts, tumors, or an eye injury. A small minority of people are afflicted by the fourth type, known as congenital glaucoma. This kind is present at birth, or shortly after and is indicated if the baby has enlarged eyeballs and an amplified sensitivity to light.
How it steals your vision
Glaucoma can take up to 90 percent of your eyesight in one eye without you being aware of it. How? All of us have a naturally occurring blind spot in the back of each eye. This mark on the retina, where your nerve fibers connect together to form the optic nerve, is without light sensing cells. You are not aware of this blind spot because your brain has the capability to paint in the missing bits of the picture. Ironically, it is the brains ability to do this that makes glaucoma so deceptive. Glaucoma is called the sneaky robber of sight, because it doesn't give you any symptoms. The most popular kind is slow and steady and, without any warning causes harm to the nerve structure that joins the eye to the brain.
Detecting the thief
Unfortunately, there is no all-inclusive test for glaucoma. An eye specialist may use a device called a tonometer, by checking the fluid pressure in your eyes. This instrument gently flattens the cornea or front part of the eye. The amount of force essential to do this job is measured, and in this way the pressure inside your eye can be gauged. He can also look for signs of glaucoma by using instruments that detect damaged tissue in the nerve structure that connects the eye to the brain.
Glaucoma is also discovered by visual field testing. A person can look into a bowl of white light, and there is a light that is brighter that is shone at a little spot inside that bowl. The person acts by pushing a button where they can see the little white light. If they fail to see it when it is at the outer edge of their visual field, this could mean they have glaucoma. There are new instruments being produced that could make this procedure easier.
Risk factors for Glaucoma
- 1Family History of Glaucoma.
- 2High Blood Pressure.
- 3If you have Diabetes.
- 4Common in people of African Descent.
- 5If you are over 60, you are six times most likely to get glaucoma.
- 6If you are Near-sighted.
- 7If you have Hypertension.
- 8Eye Injuries can be a factor.
- 9You are a long time user of cortisone/steroid that is used in some medical creams and asthma sprays.
If your parents have glaucoma, your risk of getting it goes up three to five times. If you have a brother or sister that has it, than the risk goes up between five and seven times.
Ways to prevent & treat Glaucoma
- 2This is good for blood flow to the eyes.Exercise.
- 3This can be damaging to your eyesight.Quit Smoking.
- 4Prevent or keep your Diabetes under control.
- 5It has been known to lower fluid pressure in the eyes.Take Vitamin C.
- 6This helps regulate the pressure.Pills or Eye Drops.
- 7Laser Surgery.