Could YOU Be at Risk of Glaucoma?
November 5, 2019
This condition of the eyes also affects celebrities like comedienne Whoopi Goldberg and musician Bono of U2. But it’s not just the rich and famous – how about the rest of us – what increases our risk of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma. It’s a term for a group of diseases that leads to damage of the optic nerve (the nerve responsible for eyesight).
It means there is a gradual progressive loss of your ability to see until it results in total blindness.
Glaucoma happens because of high pressure within the eye which damages the nerve.
There are different forms of Glaucoma: open-angle type and closed-angle type.
Glaucoma can also be primary or secondary.
It is a ‘silent disease’ and the second cause of blindness worldwide.
Early detection and prevention of blindness caused by this condition are only possible when individuals at risk of glaucoma get regular eye checks.
Doing so allows affected individuals who hardly notice symptoms before the damage caused by this condition is severe to get treatment sooner.
Damage caused by all forms of this condition is usually treated by the ophthalmologist (eye specialist).
When examining your eye with an ophthalmoscope, they may find signs like ‘cupping of the optic disc’, which occurs due to damage of the fibres of the optic nerve.
Other extensive tests can confirm this diagnosis and can pick up other changes unnoticed by the affected individual.
When a large quantity of optic nerve fibres is lost, people with glaucoma begin to have something called ‘Tunnel vision’.
With tunnel vision, you gradually lose the ability to see your sides without turning your head, and your vision becomes narrower until it is all lost.
Examples of sight changes in glaucoma could be missing a stair while you walk, or having an accident from misjudging distance when you drive.
You may also notice letters missing from words when you read.
Knowing your risk of developing glaucoma is crucial because it guides you on how often you should go for regular eye-checks with your ophthalmologist.
Features of individuals at risk of glaucoma include:
Glaucoma causes progressive, irreversible silent damage.
This means that once it starts, the eye damage continues, and current treatments cannot take the eyesight to what it was beforehand.
Knowledge of your risks at developing this condition puts you a step ahead.
If you have one or more of these risks, it is more important than ever for you to ensure that you visit the ophthalmologist regularly at least once yearly after the age of 40 and particularly after 55 years.
What’s the biggest challenge to supporting your eye health – access to the right health information, or local eye clinics? Share with us in the comments below.
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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