The Rub On Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the term for a series of diseases impacting the eye. In most cases, fluid builds up inside the eye, causing pressure on the optic nerve passageway. The optic nerve can become damaged over time, resulting in blind spots appearing in vision. Blindness typically starts on the edges of vision before moving inward.

You’re not my type

There are two main types of glaucoma that can be present inside the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is a gradual disease where fluid drainage canals become slowly blocked over time. Most patients aren’t aware the ailment exists until damage begins to take place. Angle-closure glaucoma is a sudden blockage of those same passageways. Discomfort is usually intense and requires immediate medical attention.

Hey sugar

Diabetes occurs when the body can’t produce or use insulin properly. This results in elevated levels of sugar in the blood. If uncontrolled, sugar remaining in the bloodstream can cause significant health problems. The disease is typically lifelong and can affect several organs throughout the body.

Attack on the eyes

Eyes are not safe from the effects of diabetes. Diabetic patients are up to twice as likely to develop glaucoma as individuals without the blood sugar disease. If that wasn’t bad enough, other conditions can take shape in the eye that significantly impact sight.

Don’t follow this path

Diabetic retinopathy is one such condition. With the disease, high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the back of the eye. The body compensates by forming new, abnormal blood vessels to restore blood flow. Neovascular glaucoma can occur if those new blood vessels grow on the iris and disrupt the flow of fluid.

That’s too high a risk

The longer an individual has diabetes, the higher the likelihood of glaucoma forming. That said, there are a number of additional factors that can increase the risk of glaucoma. The most prevalent are age, a family history of glaucoma, being nearsighted, eye injuries, steroid use, and race.

I don’t see any symptoms

Glaucoma is so tricky because symptoms rarely manifest. Patients with open-angle glaucoma can go for years without knowing the disease is even present. Only over time does vision start to disappear. Often, the change in sight is so gradual that individuals can’t even perceive it. Without treatment, glaucoma almost always leads to blindness. Routine doctor visits are vital for catching glaucoma before the condition reaches this stage.

You have choices to make

There’s no cure for either glaucoma or diabetes at this time, but each one can be managed with proper care. Patients with diabetes can often control blood sugar through diet or medication. More extreme cases may involve insulin injections. For a glaucoma diagnosis, physicians usually recommend eye drops to keep the pressure at bay.

A last resort

In severe cases of glaucoma, an ophthalmologist may choose a surgical approach to bring eye tension down. Surgery options include laser treatments or the removal of tissue to open clogged drainage channels. Care for both glaucoma and diabetes starts with regular visits to a healthcare specialist. Following whatever plan the doctor presents is a patient’s best bet at keeping eyes seeing clearly.