Glaucoma is a disease that steals the sight of people around the world -- and they typically don't even know they have the disease until it has permanently destroyed at least 40 percent of their vision.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma often is called the "silent thief of sight," because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.
For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss.
But with acute angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms that occur suddenly can include blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, make sure you see an eye care practitioner or visit the emergency room immediately so steps can be taken to prevent permanent vision loss.
Risk Factors of Glaucoma
- Age over 45 years
- Family history of glaucoma
- Black racial ancestry
- History of elevated intraocular pressure
- Nearsightedness (high degree of myopia), which is the inability to see distant objects clearly
- History of injury to the eye
- Use of cortisone (steroids), either in the eye or systemically (orally or injected)
- Farsightedness (hyperopia), which is seeing distant objects better than close ones (Farsighted people may have narrow drainage angles, which predispose them to acute [sudden] attacks of angle-closure glaucoma.)
Treatments of Glaucoma
Treatment can involve glaucoma surgery, lasers or medication, depending on the severity. Eye drops with medication aimed at lowering IOP usually are tried first to control glaucoma.
Because glaucoma often is painless, people may become careless about strict use of eye drops that can control eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage.
In fact, non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major reason for blindness caused by glaucoma.
If you find that the eye drops you are using for glaucoma are uncomfortable or inconvenient, never discontinue them without first consulting your eye doctor about a possible alternative therapy.