Glaucoma – the Quiet Vision Thief

A coy thief threatens the vision of individuals, universally. Ranked as the leading cause of blindness, more than three million Americans have glaucoma. Over 100,000 cases in the United States have led to blindness from the understated disease. According to a report released by Mayo Clinic, an estimated million Americans are unaware of their affliction with glaucoma.

Just like the human body’s blood level rises, the eye has intraocular pressure (IOP). Essentially, glaucoma is verisimilar to ocular hypertension but with the adverse effects of optic nerve damage and vision loss. When the level of pressure escalates in the eye, the optic nerve is damaged. Consequently, peripheral vision is impaired. When untreated it may result in blindness.

1) Fact or fallacy – there are a wealth of cures for glaucoma?

Fallacy – while most cases of glaucoma may be identifiable prior to sight loss, the available treatments either prevent further vision loss — only. (Eye drops are the regularly prescribed treatment. It works by slowing or speeding up the eye’s drainage/production of aqueous humor. Either laser or non-laser surgeries may be performed after eye drops fail).

2) Fact or fallacy – glaucoma is a single disease.

Fallacy, glaucoma is a group of diseases. The predominant feature of the optical illness is the pressure of the trauma induced on the optic nerve — a cluster of nerve fibers linked to the posterior of the eye referred to as the optic disk.

Although, there are several variations of glaucoma, the major types are acute closed-angle glaucoma and chronic or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). The other classifications include:

  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Pigmentary glaucoma
  • Secondary glaucoma

3) Fact or fallacy chronic glaucoma (primary open-angle glaucoma or POAG) garners the alias “the silent thief of sight?”

Factually, since open-angle glaucoma does not render many vision warning signs, it is known as the silent thief of sight. (Over 85 percent of glaucoma cases are chronic glaucoma). It is estimated that more than half of all Americans afflicted with chronic glaucoma are unaware that they have the disease. (There are not many indications).

4) Glaucoma gradually reduces frontal vision.

Fallacy, glaucoma goes undetected because it gradually reduces peripheral vision. In numerous cases where the vision loss is noticed, permanent damage has already transpired. When the intraocular pressure (IOP) remains elevated, destruction may segue until the development of tunnel vision (the ability to see objects that are straight ahead).

5) Fact or fallacy, there are not any symptoms associated with acute angle-closure glaucoma?

With acute angle-closure glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma (closed-angle glaucoma) there are a series of attacks. Each attack intercepts a part of the field of vision. The sudden medical symptoms that may occur for a few hours are as follows:

  • Eye pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Haloes around lights
  • Headaches
  • Red eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision loss

6) Fact or fallacy, only people over the age of 65 should be concerned about glaucoma.

Generally, chronic glaucoma develops after the age of 35.

7) Fact or fallacy, glaucoma usually occurs in one eye.

Normally, glaucoma is present in both eyes; however, one maybe distressed more than the other.

8) Doctors are unable to recommend screenings for glaucoma because there are not any high risk groups.

Fallacy, high risked groups of glaucoma include the following:

  • A family history of the disease
  • Diabetics
  • Rare eye disorders
  • African Americans
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid preparations

9) Appropriate screening for glaucoma involves measuring the width of the eyeball.

Fallacy, glaucoma screening entails indirect measurement of pressure inside the eyeball or tonometry.

10) Any vision damage caused by glaucoma is 100 percent reversible.

Fallacy, sight damage cannot be reversed; however treatment will impede further vision loss.

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