Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by progressive damage to optic nerve. This condition usually occurs when the fluid called "aqueous humor" present inside our eye doesn't drain normally. When the fluid doesn't drain properly, it builds up and increases the pressure inside the eye, which in turn damages the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally. In initial stages it causes loss of peripheral (side) vision. 40% of your vision can be lost due to glaucoma without your notice. The vision loss then gradually progresses towards the center as the disease progresses. Glaucoma poses a greater threat to people than cataracts because the blindness it causes is irreversible. There are no symptoms during the early stages of this disease which result in people seeking treatment late after most of the damage has already occurred. Currently, while there is effective treatment to curb the progress of the disease, there is no way to reverse the existing damage.
Studies have shown that over 50 % of glaucoma is hereditary. Hence family members should screen their eyes regularly. Glaucoma is a complicated disease and so is the treatment. The best way to prevent vision loss is through early diagnosis and treatment. The currently approved treatment for glaucoma aimed at lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) and protecting the nerve, which can be achieved by eye drops, laser, or surgery.Medication eye drops are the most common treatment modality and, over time, patients may need to take several types of eye drops in order to stop the progression of the disease. An eye doctor will determine which medications are best suited for the patient, based on their individual need, medical history and current medication.
Glaucoma, in general, affects people aged 40 and above. Positive family history, high myopia and diabetes are major risk factors for the disease. Regular eye check-ups at this age will help in detecting glaucoma early before it steals the sight.
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