World Glaucoma Week: 10 – 16 March
World Glaucoma Week (10 – 16 March) is commemorated to raise awareness of this silent vision thief.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the world, according to Netcare Opticlinic. It is a condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. The increased pressure can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to your brain, that can lead to permanent vision loss.
Normally the fluid in your eye, called the humor, flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. When the channel gets blocked, the liquid builds up and causes increased pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is caused as result of deterioration of the optic nerve.
Age, family history, physical injuries to the eye and elevated eye pressure are factors that can increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
In most cases there is no early symptoms or pain. One of the first signs is often loss of peripheral (side) vision, but that can go unnoticed until late in the disease. Glaucoma has often been described as the “silent blinding disease” because there is no specific symptoms or indications. Early detection of glaucoma is key to preventing sight loss as is the importance of having a complete eye exam done every two years.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle (chronic) glaucoma: The drain structure of your eye looks normal, but fluid does not flow out like it should.
- Angle-closure (acute) glaucoma: It occurs when the drainage system of the eye becomes blocked and causes a sudden rise in pressure. Acute glaucoma has the following symptoms and medical assistance must be seek immediately: severe headache, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, eye redness and halos around lights.
Several quick and painless tests can be done to check if you have glaucoma, including vision tests and measurements of the pressure in your eyes.
Glaucoma cannot be prevented or cured, but it can be treated and controlled. Immediate treatment for early-stage glaucoma can delay progression of this disease – that’s why diagnosis is very important.
Treatment include the following:
- Eyedrops is the most common early treatment
- Laser treatment to help drain the fluid out of the eye
- Surgery is usually done when medicine and laser treatment aren’t enough
Please note this is an informative article and must not be used as a medical diagnosis. If you are concerned, contact your doctor or optometrist.
Stages of Glaucoma
— Please note this is an informative article and must not be used as a medical diagnosis. If you are concerned, contact your doctor or optometrist. —