Glaucoma Takes Your Vision Away

Glaucoma is the name for a group of diseases that negatively impact the eye. The condition causes a loss of vision that starts in the periphery before working inward. Any sight lost to the disease is permanent and will never return. If left unchecked, glaucoma can claim all vision in the eye.

An ocular delivery service

The lens and cornea are the two components the eye uses to focus light and allow for clear vision. To do so, these tissues are devoid of blood vessels that typically bring in nutrients. The eye compensates for this by producing a liquid called aqueous humor that brings nutrients in. After the fluid deposits this food, aqueous humor heads out of the eye through drainage channels called the trabecular meshwork.

When this meshwork gets blocked, aqueous humor has nowhere to go. The eye continues producing new fluid, leading to an excess that begins to push outward. Increased intraocular pressure can damage and ultimately kill the nerve cells that send images to the brain. Dead nerve cells result in permanent blind spots in vision.

This channel is blocked

In most cases, the onset of glaucoma is a prolonged process. Drainage channels typically get partially blocked, and the disease can take years to negatively affect vision. However, at other times the angle between the cornea and iris where aqueous humor drains closes off completely. This event is called angle-closure glaucoma, and is a serious condition.

Are you always so intense?

When the trabecular meshwork becomes completely inaccessible, most patients experience immediate symptoms. The following are some of the most common symptoms relating to angle-closure glaucoma:

  • Severe pain in the head or eye
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  •  Rainbows or haloes appearing around lights
  • Eye redness
  • Loss of vision

The above symptoms are typically intense, and individuals should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

A sure sign of glaucoma

The amount of discomfort associated with angle-closure glaucoma is usually too unbearable for a patient to tolerate. If left untreated, the amount of discomfort will likely only continue to increase. In addition, glaucoma can start damaging the nerve cells that lead to blindness. Vision loss appears first on the edges of sight before moving to the center.

Not sure I want to risk it

Age is a significant factor when it comes to glaucoma, and the risk increases slightly every year after age 40. That being said, there are a few additional risk factors to keep in mind when hoping to ward off glaucoma: individuals with a family history of glaucoma, ethnicity (primarily Chinese, Vietnamese, Pakistani, or Inuit), farsightedness, thin cornea,  previous injury to the eye, or being female.

With these unchangeable risk factors, there isn’t much an individual can do to keep glaucoma at bay. The best approach is to schedule regular visits with an eye doctor, especially with one or more of these risks.

Treat me right

Angle-closure glaucoma can come out of nowhere without any warning sign. If symptoms do occur, visit an eye doctor as soon as possible. At the clinic, the healthcare specialist can administer treatments to remove discomfort and discover the root cause. When it comes to glaucoma, eye drops or surgery may be needed to reopen closed passageways.