Glaucoma causes atrophy of the optic nerve, or progressive loss of vision. Affects more than 3% of the populationEspecially those over the age of 40 and those with a family history of glaucoma. According to the Spanish Glaucoma Society, besides diabetes, it is the main preventable cause of blindness in Spain.St).
Glaucoma, the silent thief of sight
Glaucoma is a Chronic and progressive eye disease It is caused by damage to the optic nerve, causing loss of visual field. Disorders of the eye’s drainage system can cause fluid to build up, causing excess pressure that damages the optic nerve that connects the retina to the brain.
One of the most surprising facts when we talk about glaucoma is that it is a disease that does not cause symptoms at the beginning, which translates into Half of the people who worry about it don’t know it.
This causes it to develop asymptomatically, and the first signs usually do not appear until the most advanced stages. Hence, it is known as “silent blindness” or the silent thief of sight.
This inhibits the healing process, which explains why glaucoma is positioned Second leading cause of blindness in the world and the first irreversible blindness. What’s even more surprising is that up to 90% of blindness caused by glaucoma could be prevented with early diagnosis.
Signs that warn us about glaucoma
After nerve damage is detected, it can take months or even years before symptoms become noticeable, that is, until affected people begin to lose their vision.
Since glaucoma damages the fibers of the optic nerve, they can begin to develop Small blind spots. These are spots that usually appear in the side or peripheral vision, which are noticed when significant damage to the optic nerve has already occurred.
Blindness occurs when it is completely destroyed. Therefore for some Types of glaucoma There are no early warning symptoms and vision changes can occur gradually, making them easy to miss.
only if Angle-closure glaucoma We can talk about symptoms that usually appear suddenly.
Special attention should be paid to such signs as:
- Eye pain or pressure
- Rainbow colored halos around the lights
- Low vision, blurred and narrow vision or blind spots
- Nausea and vomiting
- red eyes
Due to these features of glaucoma, it is important Get routine eye exams which detects the disease at an early stage, because the damage is irreversible, so early detection and treatment are needed.
The most commonly used tests for this are a dilated eye exam to look at the optic nerve, an eye pressure test, a visual field test to check for changes in peripheral vision, or a visual acuity test to check for vision loss.
Who is most at risk for glaucoma?
Although anyone can have glaucoma, there are certain factors that can cause this predisposition, according to the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (half):
- Anyone over the age of 50.
- racial factors: in investigation Published in 2022 Translation Vision Science and TechnologyExperts concluded that blacks have a much higher risk of vision loss after a primary open-angle glaucoma diagnosis than whites.
- Family background: In most cases, glaucoma is a hereditary disease that is passed down between first-degree relatives. A person with a direct family history of glaucoma is ten times more likely to develop it. That is why it is important to know the family history.
- has foresight
- High blood pressure (hypertension) or very low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, which can increase intraocular pressure.
- Eye injury or surgery
Glaucoma, is it curable?
After the diagnosis of glaucoma, it is important to remember that treatment, which must be started immediately, does not restore vision damage, but can stop its deterioration, prevent or delay further vision loss.
Treatment focuses on lowering intraocular pressure and will have different approaches depending on the degree of progression of the disease.
They tend to use different Types of treatment:
- Drugs: Drops are the most common way to reduce pressure in the eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
- laser treatment: Helps drain fluid from the eye and lowers pressure.
- surgery: When the previous two have not worked, surgery may be needed to remove the fluid from the eye. It helps slow vision loss but cannot restore lost vision or cure glaucoma.
If left untreated, the optic nerve can be gradually damaged and cause vision loss, which is now irreversible.
Source: El Diario