Glaucoma Can Cause A Lot of Tension
Glaucoma is the term used for a series of diseases that stem from an elevated pressure inside the eye. Clear fluids called aqueous humor travel into and out of the eye, depositing vital nutrients to areas lacking blood vessels. If the drainage channels for these fluids become partially or entirely obstructed, those liquids are unable to drain as intended. New fluids still enter, causing a buildup of aqueous humor and ultimately pressure.
How does glaucoma cause so much trouble?
With nowhere else to go, these intra-ocular fluids push outward on the eye. If left unchecked, this pressure can begin to damage or kill the optic nerve cells that lead to the brain. Without these nerve cells, the brain has no way to process the images the eye is taking in. Glaucoma starts with the outermost nerve cells, causing blindness on the outer edges of vision before working to the center.
Glaucoma works at its own pace
There are types of glaucoma that can lead to blindness in patients at different speeds. Open-angle glaucoma, where drainage channels are not completely blocked, develops very slowly and is often asymptomatic. If untreated, this form of the disease can take several years before complete blindness sets in. However, the higher the eye pressure, the faster the damage to the optic nerve.
Angle-closure occurs when the eye’s drainage channels get entirely cut off. This event causes a significant spike in eye pressure and usually a great deal of discomfort as well. The amount of pain should drive anyone to seek medical attention immediately. If not remedied, angle-closure glaucoma can lead to blindness much faster than the open-angle variant.
What can I do to be glaucoma-free?
Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of blindness and is not curable at this time. Everyone is susceptible to the disease, although older individuals and African Americans are the most vulnerable. Patients without treatment will almost certainly go blind, whereas only 10% of those treated will lose sight.
Stop glaucoma before it stops you
The best way to beat the disease is to schedule routine appointments with an eye doctor to check for issues. Modern medical advancements have cut the rate of blindness in glaucoma patients by half over the last few decades. Ophthalmologists can prescribe eye drops to reduce the amount of fluid in the eye or reopen drainage passageways. In most cases, this allows individuals to live normal lives outside of administering medications for life.
In instances where eyedrops aren’t enough, surgical procedures can offer another solution. Laser procedures are able to reopen blocked channels or create small holes to allow aqueous humor to flow freely again. These laser procedures can even be performed in minutes from an office setting. Eye surgeons can also perform surgery to bypass the drainage meshwork altogether.