Table of Contentsshow
Glaucoma, in general, refers to a group of eye disorders that can result in loss of vision by optic nerve damage. According to WHO, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness due to optic nerve damage, with approximately 4.5 million affected across the globe. In India, about 1.2 million people suffer from this irreversible blindness among 12 million affected in total .
Typically, glaucoma affects both eyes, although it can affect one side more severely at first. Moreover, since the symptoms are rare in the initial stages, it is often diagnosed late. It is crucial to know how it occurs and develops, its prevention and medications so that you can effectively take measures if and when necessary.
|Symptoms||Blurry vision, red eyes, rainbow-coloured circles around lights, nausea, headache|
|Complications||Loss of sight and a painful blind eye.|
|Causes||Excessive fluid build-up in the eyes exerts pressure on the eyeballs and optic nerves, resulting in damage.|
|Onset||Slow onset usually takes 10-15 years to develop from the initial stage. Generally, early onset is developing glaucoma before the age of 40 years.|
|Diagnosis||Tonometry, perimetry, pachymetry, ophthalmoscopy, gonioscopy, etc.|
|Prevention||Regular eye check-ups, healthy diet, moderate exercise, etc.|
|Medication||Eyedrops, laser treatment, surgery, etc.|
The table above shows a complete overview of glaucoma, its causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention and onset. Keep reading below to learn more.
During the initial stage, you will not notice any symptoms of glaucoma. It has a slow progression and may take years to develop. Following this, it starts affecting your peripheral vision and then the rest.
Some of the common glaucoma symptoms in the earlier stage may include the following:
Glaucoma is rarely diagnosed during the early stages as it shows only mild and generic symptoms at this time. However, with years passing, your condition may worsen and eventually lead to complete and irreversible blindness.
Therefore, consult a certified doctor immediately if you develop any of these glaucoma symptoms mentioned above.
There can be several causes behind the development of vision loss. The most common reason is when there is fluid build-up in your eyes due to poor drainage, it starts creating pressure on the eyeballs. This, in turn, damages the nerves that connect the eyes to the brain, causing vision impairment or even blindness.
However, the reason for the fluid deposit remains unclear. Certain factors can surge up the risk of its prevalence. They include :
There are different types of glaucoma, such as:
The most prevalent type is known as primary open-angle glaucoma. This typically takes years to develop slowly. It is brought on by progressive clogging of the drainage ducts in the eyes over time. Open-angle glaucoma runs in families with a genetic predisposition to it. If any of your parents or grandparents have open-angle glaucoma, chances are that you could also develop it.
A rare kind of acute angle closure glaucoma is brought on by the drainage system in the eyes getting suddenly clogged, which can quickly increase intraocular pressure.
An underlying eye problem that already exists, like eye inflammation, can lead to secondary glaucoma (uveitis).
Childhood glaucoma, also known as congenital glaucoma, is an uncommon type of condition that affects particularly young children and is brought on by an anomaly of the eye.
Glaucoma is a serious disease that can cost you your vision and, thus, should not be taken lightly. Therefore, as soon as you are diagnosed with it, start the treatment immediately . Your doctor will help you lay out a plan for your treatment and management and prescribe medicines. You must stick to it.
Moreover, it would be wise to test for glaucoma every 3 to 5 years for safety since it does not show symptoms in the beginning. In case you have a family history of this condition and are above 60 years of age, then tests must be done after every one or two years.
Glaucoma diagnosis can be made through several tests. The five most common tests are as follows:
For this test, you have to sit in an examination chair next to a specialised microscope known as a slit lamp. Next, your eyes will be numbed by drops administered by your ophthalmologist or any other healthcare professional. Before testing the eyes, you will have to rest your forehead and chin against the slit lamp. As you lean against it, your specialist will use the tonometer to measure the eye pressure. While conducting the test, a puff of air may be blown into your eyes, but it does not hurt the eyeballs.
Perimetry, often known as a visual field exam, assesses your peripheral or side vision. Here, you need to look directly at a screen in the front, which will display a light or image moving in from one side. Then you will tell the provider what you can see without moving your eyes or head. This test helps the doctor to understand your whole field of vision. The test can be repeated a few more times for accurate results. If diagnosed with glaucoma, you will need to take this test once or twice every year to see if your vision is changing.
This test helps to check the thickness of the cornea. Here, your doctor will first administer eye drops to numb your eye. Following that, they will place a pachymeter, a little instrument, on your eye to measure the corneal thickness. The cornea makes up the outer layer of the eye, and it protects the iris and the pupil. Therefore, your chance of developing glaucoma may be higher if you have a thin cornea.
The doctor can check for glaucoma impairment to your optic nerve with this diagnostic method. First, they will use eye drops to enlarge the pupil so they can take a look into your eye to assess the optic nerve’s size, shape, and colour. Next, they will illuminate and magnify the optic nerve using a little instrument with a light on the end.
Your doctor might recommend that you undergo perimetry and gonioscopy as part of one or more glaucoma exams in case your intraocular pressure (IOP) is outside of the normal range or the optic nerve appears unusual.
To conduct this test, your health professional will administer drops that both numb and dilate your eyes. Next, a specialised hand-held lens consisting of a mirror inside is put on your eyes. This helps the eye specialist to check the inside of your eyes from various angles. It also shows the angle degree between the cornea and the iris. If it is too broad, it may indicate open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma in case the angle is too low.
Glaucoma prognosis depends heavily on the stage you were diagnosed and started treatment on. For instance, if the treatment begins before the optic nerves are damaged; the prognosis is improved with effective treatment .
However, if the diagnosis is made post-damage, the visual impairment is hard to prevent. In such conditions, the doctors will perform a more aggressive treatment which indicates a poorer long-term prognosis. Moreover, these treatments may also fail to succeed, and patients can completely lose their vision.
The kind of glaucoma treatment you receive will depend on the type of glaucoma you have. For instance, primary open-angle glaucoma can be treated with eye drops. However, if they do not help, you may have to undergo laser treatment or surgery.
Therefore, the treatments based on the types may include the following :
The major glaucoma medications include:
Eye Drops are common for treating all kinds of glaucoma and often are the primary and main treatment. There are different types of eye drops, and you might have used a few to understand which one or more suits you best. The main job of eyedrops is to reduce fluid build-up in your eyes so that it won’t create pressure on the eyeballs and optic nerves.
Some of them include :
Follow your treatment schedule. In case you face irritation, consult your doctor.
Some of the common side effects of glaucoma include:
If the eyedrops do not improve your condition, you will be recommended to go for laser surgery. It helps to reduce eye pressure by helping excess fluid to drain out of the eyes. It is a simple procedure and can be carried out in the doctor’s office .
Generally, the procedure involves aiming a solid beam of light (laser) into your eye to drain the fluid build-up. There are three types of this procedure:
Laser eye treatment does not require anaesthesia, but doctors will administer eye drops that numb your eyes. It is more or less a painless procedure, although you need a few days to recover and may experience some common side effects, such as :
However, these effects fade fast and can be improved using eye drops as guided by your doctor.
Glaucoma requires surgical treatment in rare cases when both eye drops and laser treatment fail to do the job. The purpose of surgery is the same, i.e.draining out fluid from the eyes. The most common surgery performed is called trabeculectomy. It helps to remove the blocked-out portion of the tubes that drains out fluids.
Other surgery types include the following:
The best way to protect your eyes from losing vision is through an early diagnosis and maintaining their health. Here are some effective steps you can take to prevent glaucoma :
As you age, you must go for eye testing frequently. For instance, check-ups should be done
Injuries to the eyes can have a profound impact increasing the chances of traumatic or secondary glaucoma. Therefore, you must protect them by wearing protective eyewear, especially during sports or welding activities.
A regular and moderate exercise routine not only improves your physical health but also reduces eyeball pressure. Since the benefits last while you perform the exercises, it is advised that you opt for a regular routine. However, extreme positions such as headstands and shoulder stands can increase eyeball pressure. Therefore, consult your doctor before starting a program.
Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining your eyesight. Therefore, your diet must include components such as carrots, green leafy vegetables, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, halibut, etc.
Your eyes may grow tired if you stare at a screen for an extended time or concentrate on one item without occasionally remembering to blink. Therefore, you can apply the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, glance away for 20 seconds from roughly 20 feet ahead of you. This simple activity helps lessen eye fatigue.
The most important thing to remember is that glaucoma, even though treatable, is not curable. Moreover, if it goes untreated, glaucoma can cause the following complications :
The cost of glaucoma treatment in India depends on various factors, such as the type of condition you have and its severity.
Since the overall procedure is manifold, starting from doctors’ consultations to medicine or surgery, your health provider can give you the exact cost of the treatment you need.
For instance, the cost of surgery in India may vary between Rs.3000 to Rs.75,000, depending on your case. Besides, the consultation and diagnosis may cost approximately Rs.1500.
Glaucoma can be effectively treated in order to keep patients’ vision intact and stop the progression of optic nerve atrophy. Therefore, if you experience any discomfort or pain in your eyes, go for a check-up immediately. The slow progression and mild or negligible initial symptoms may often result in late diagnosis. Therefore, ensure to get frequent check-ups, especially if you are above 40 or at a higher risk.
Now, the cost of glaucoma management is often just too high, considering the regular check-up costs, doctor’s fees, surgery or laser cost, medications, etc. Therefore, the best way to manage your health expenses is by choosing the Navi Health Insurance, which offers you yearly check-ups at more than 10,000 cashless hospitals, unlimited online consultations, annual health check-ups, hassle-free claim settlement with affordable premiums starting from just Rs.234 per month. Get a quote now!
: The following list includes people who are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma: Individuals over the age of 35-40 years. Siblings of an individual who has glaucoma disorder. People with African ancestry have a higher risk of developing open-angle glaucoma. People of Chinese origin have a higher risk of developing closed-angle glaucoma. Very near-sighted to very far-sighted people. People with a higher intraocular pressure.
Till now, there is no treatment that can help to restore the vision lost due to glaucoma or other neurodegenerative disorder. This is because the nerve cells of the retina, along with the optic nerves, are unable to regenerate once damaged. However, several kinds of research are ongoing to replace the lost neurons and nerves of the retina, which may help to restore sight in the future.
Yes, glaucoma can be inherited from the parent's genes and in various patterns. For instance, primary congenital glaucoma is typically inherited as an autosomal recessive character. On the other hand, juvenile open-angle glaucoma is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait. Therefore, only one copy of the mutated gene needs to exist in each cell for the condition to manifest. However, in some instances, primary congenital glaucoma may also be transmitted to the next generation as an autosomal dominant inheritance.
You may need to visit the doctor to have your eye pressure tested every week or month after being newly diagnosed with glaucoma until it comes under control. Moreover, even if your eye pressure is within normal limits, you should go visit your doctor for examinations at regular intervals each year. Your treatment plan will include how frequently you will see your ophthalmologist, which will be planned according to your health status.
Glaucoma is also known as “the silent thief of sight” as it can cause permanent loss of vision without giving out any severe signs or symptoms. So, even by the time you visit an eye doctor, significant loss of vision can already set in, which can lead to irreversible blindness.
Bunion – What are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Bunion or hallux valgus is a common form of foot deformity. According to a study, 1 individua... Read More »
Brain Tumour – What are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Brain tumour or intracranial tumour is an abnormal mass of brain tissue caused due to abnormal cell... Read More »
Bladder Cancer– What are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Bladder cancer acquires the 10th spot among the list of most common cancer in the world, with appro... Read More »
Binge Eating – What are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Binge eating disorder or BED is a very common eating disorder. People with binge eating disorder te... Read More »
Rheumatoid Arthritis – What Are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is an inflammatory disease caused by an autoimmune reaction, where the i... Read More »
Psoriasis – What Are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Psoriasis is a non-contagious autoimmune skin disorder that causes the formation of silver-white fl... Read More »
Myositis – What Are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Myositis, also known as 'idiopathic inflammatory myopathy’, refers to muscle inflammation thereby... Read More »
Hepatitis – What are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Hepatitis refers to swelling or inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus. If not tak... Read More »
Ulcer – What are the Causes, Symptoms and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Ulcer or peptic ulcer is a condition characterised by open sores developing along the lining of the... Read More »
Typhoid – What are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Typhoid is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. It can spread throughout t... Read More »
Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis – What are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the intestinal system's lining caused by bact... Read More »
Scabies– What Are the Causes, Symptoms, and How is It Diagnosed and Treated?Scabies is a highly contagious, itchy skin disease that is caused by a microscopic mite known as Sa... Read More »
All information is subject to specific conditions | © 2022 Navi Technologies Ltd. All rights are reserved.