Silent Killer of Eye Sight
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the pressure inside the eye increase to an extent which causes permanent damage to the optic nerve which carries the eye signal to the brain. The normal intraocular pressure in a human being ranges from 12 – 20 mm Hg. When the pressure rises beyond 20 mm Hg, the risk of having glaucoma increase considerably.
According to a survey, 6 million people in India are having glaucoma and an additional 6 million are those who are not aware about their disease.
Glaucoma is of two types :
- A. OPEN ANGLE TYPE: It damages the eye sight very slowly and person becomes aware of this problem only when it has damaged 90% of the eyesight
- B. CLOSED ANGLE TYPE: In this, person severe headache, eyeache with diminution of vision instantly. If untreated within 24 – 48, it can cause permanent loss of vision.
Difference between (Glaucoma and Cataract) :
Normally glaucoma is considered to be a variant of cataract. In fact, there is gross difference between the two contract is related to the opacification of lens with ageing and the surgery with lens implant gives back the lost vision. On the contrary, in glaucoma vision lost is lost forever & no surgery/laser/medical therapy can be helpful in restoration of lost vision. That is why glaucoma is very dangerous.
Symptoms in Glaucoma :
In early stages, glaucoma does not have any symptoms at all. In majority of cases, it is detected by rise in intraocular pressure checked during routine examination. Some persons may experience occasional eyeache, headache, eyestrain, sight blurring of vision, rainbow haloes around artificial lights etc.
Who is at risk of developing Glaucoma :
- 1. Anybody beyond 45 years of age.
- 2. Family history of Glaucoma.
- 3. Person wearing thick glasses (high myopia or high hypermetropia)
- 4. Frequent change in power of glasses.
- 5. Person suffering from Diabetes, Hypertension of Thyroid disease.
- 6. Person using steroids medication for Rheumatoid arthritis, skin diseases, asthma etc.
Glaucoma is detected by special investigation tests (Humphrey Oct etc.) Which can diagnose this condition even in asymptomatic cases. Today we have advanced medical therapy and laser treatment which can treat halt glaucoma progression majority of cases.
Laser Treatment :
Laser treatment is done to abort acute attack of glaucoma and to prevent certain eyes from developing it. Laser rays make an opening within eye in seconds without the need for surgery. Surgery is needed in cases where medicines and laser treatment is ineffective.
Do’s and Donot’s :
- 1. All glaucoma medications if prescribed have to be used lifelong under supervision.
- 2. One has to undergo repeated eye checkups during treatment because sometimes medicines & surgery become ineffective over a period of time.
- 3. During treatment, if we remain vigilant throughout and undergo repeated consultations with eye specialist, one can save his vision throughout life.