Glaucoma is an eye disorder that causes optic nerve damage. The eyes produce a fluid called aqueous humor, which flows through a trabecular meshwork channel. If it gets clogged or the eyes overproduce this fluid, it can cause extra pressure that may damage the optic nerve.
Unfortunately, there are also a few cases where individuals have normal eye pressure but still develop glaucoma.
Although the condition is mainly related to eye fluid, it can also be caused by other things. Some of them are inflammatory conditions, blocked blood vessels in the eyes, severe eye infections, and eye injury. Glaucoma is a common cause of sight impairment and blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment could save the vision of the patients.
Can glaucoma be a symptom of other health problems?
Yes, glaucoma can be an indication of other health problems. There could be underlying medical concerns that require a specialists' attention. A review of the medical records of thousands of patients with glaucoma showed a higher possibility of patients having other illnesses than those without glaucoma. The most common underlying health problems were liver diseases, ulcers, diabetes, and high blood pressure. So, doctors who diagnose and provide treatment for glaucoma should perform a thorough medical check to uncover other possible health issues that also need treatment. The patients may require referral to other specialists to treat the underlying health concerns.
Risk factors and symptoms
Glaucoma can occur to anyone, regardless of gender and age. However, there are risk factors that make some people more prone to getting it, including the following:
- Other family members had glaucoma
- Poor vision
- Over 40 years old
- High pressure in the eyes
- Thin cornea
- Far-sighted or nearsighted
The symptoms may vary and usually come later when the condition advances. So, it's essential to get regular eye checkups even if you don't feel anything, especially if you belong to the group with a higher risk of developing glaucoma. It is for early detection and treatment, which can prevent vision loss. Common symptoms include:
- Eye pain
- Red eyes
- Vision loss
- Seeing halos when looking at lights
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor will perform various tests to determine if a person has glaucoma. It's a quick and painless procedure that often includes checking eye pressure, vision, and nerve damage. If glaucoma is suspected, they will perform an image testing of the optic nerve.
Various treatments are available for this disease, and the doctor may use a combination of these treatments. Some of them include eye drops, oral medication and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, for example OptiLight by Lumenis. Surgeries are common treatments, like laser surgery, trabeculectomy, and MIGS or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.
You can do something to prevent glaucoma, such as having regular eye checkups for early detection and knowing your family history to determine if they had glaucoma. In addition, protect your eyes to prevent injuries, whether working or playing sports.
If you have glaucoma, follow your doctor's instructions religiously, such as taking your eye drops or oral medications on time. In addition, take extra care and protection in your eyes to prevent unnecessary pressure and further injuries.