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Last Updated: Nov 12, 2019
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Glaucoma - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Glaucoma? Types of Glaucoma: What are the early symptoms of Glaucoma? Causes of glaucoma: Risk factors for Glaucoma: How is Glaucoma diagnosed? What is the best treatment for glaucoma? What foods to avoid if you have glaucoma? What is the best vitamin to take for glaucoma? How can glaucoma be prevented?

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a medical condition which damages the optic nerve of the eye and can get worse overtime. It occurs due to the buildup of pressure in your eyes. Glaucoma is usually inherited and passed down the genes if your family member has it. Glaucoma usually destroys the nerve which aids in transmitting images to your brain. It can result to irreversible vision loss within a few years if not treated properly. If you have diabetes, you are more prone in developing glaucoma.

Types of Glaucoma:

  • Open angle Glaucoma- This is a very common type of Glaucoma. It is also known as wide-angle glaucoma. In this condition, the trabecular meshwork seems normal but the fluid fails to flow the way it should.
  • Angle-closure Glaucoma- It is also called narrow-angle Glaucoma and acute angle closure. In this condition, the eye doesn’t seem to drain properly because the area between the cornea and the iris is extremely narrow. This can cause an immediate buildup of eye pressure. It is linked to cataracts and farsightedness (clouding of the eye lens)

What are the early symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an intricate eye condition in which the optic nerve damage may occur and it will lead to loss of vision if untreated. The two common forms of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and acute angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). In POAG, you may not experience any symptoms until vision loss. The early symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are blurred vision, severe eye pain with nausea and vomiting, sudden sight loss, the appearance of halos.

In angle-closed glaucoma which is otherwise called narrow-angle glaucoma, the patients may see an increased eye pressure that will lead to optic nerve damage. The eye pressure may occur gradually or suddenly. The symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are much noticeable and the damage may occur quickly. Vision loss because of glaucoma isn't reversible with treatment and even with a medical procedure called therapy. So, immediate medical attention and regular examination are required to prevent vision loss.

Causes of glaucoma:

Glaucoma occurs when the liquid in the eye doesn’t circulate how it should, this in turn results in extremely high pressure in your eyes. The liquid which is called aqueous humor usually starts to flow out your eyes through a channel. If this channel is blocked, the fluid starts building up resulting in Glaucoma. Factor such as inflammatory conditions, blocked blood vessels in the eye, acute eye infection, chemical injury and a blunt can cause Glaucoma. It is rare but possible in some cases. An eye surgery performed to treat another condition can also trigger Glaucoma. It can affect both the eyes.

Risk factors for Glaucoma:

Risk factors for Glaucoma:

  • If you have Scandinavian, Inuit, Hispanic, Japanese, Russian, Irish or African-American ancestry.
  • If you are over 40 years old.
  • If your family members have Glaucoma
  • Having diabetes.
  • If you take steroid medications such as prednisone.
  • If you have had trauma to one or both the eyes.

How is Glaucoma diagnosed?

At first, the specialist will dilate your pupils with eye drops. He will then check the optic nerve. A test called tonometry can be performed to keep a check on your eye pressure. A visual field test is also done to figure if your peripheral and side vision has been affected or not. Diagnoses for Glaucoma takes very less time and is also quite painless.

What is the best treatment for glaucoma?

The glaucoma medications are intended to control as well as lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) which can harm the optic nerves that send visual data to the cerebrum. The patient is advised with glaucoma eye drops initially and it is very effective in controlling IOP. Sometimes, the ophthalmologist may put on combination glaucoma drops i.e. more than one drug to achieve the best IOP control.

Some types of glaucoma drops are Prostaglandins, beta-blockers, Alpha-adrenergic agonists, Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, Parasympathomimetics, Epinephrine, and Hyperosmotic agents. There are a couple of ophthalmic drug stores that delivered mix eye drops that contain two distinctive anti-glaucoma prescriptions in a similar container. Depends on the eye condition and the type of glaucoma, the drug/s is advised. It is advisable to put the drops in the eyes as prescribed by the doctor.

What foods to avoid if you have glaucoma?

  • Trans fatty acids are reported to be associated with higher cholesterol levels and they can damage the blood vessels throughout the body. The blood vessel damage plays a major role in injury to the optic nerve in glaucoma. Avoid processed foods such as fried items, cookies, cakes that contain more Trans fatty acids.
  • Saturated fats including fatty cuts of the pork, lamb, and red meats should be steered from your diet. Excessive use of butter also is to be limited. Get more into olive oil for cooking.
  • A high intake of caffeine is reported to increase eye pressure. The increased IOP will damage the optic nerve. So, refraining from caffeinated products is always good for glaucoma.
  • Simple carbs have to be avoided and they are cereal, pasta, potato, sugar, rice, and bread.

What is the best vitamin to take for glaucoma?

  • Vitamin A plays an essential role in maintaining a clear cornea. It prevents the total eye afflictions. Pumpkins, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, carrot, egg yolk, and milk are the rich sources of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the cells including eye cells. Vitamin E rich diets such as avocado, nuts, salmon fish, whole grains, vegetable oils, fortified cereals help a lot to get a clear eye vision.
  • Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents the eye from free radical damage. Take broccoli, green peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, white and sweet potatoes to enrich your diet with Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12, B6 and B9, Vitamin D, Riboflavin, Niacin, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Thiamine are the best vitamins not only for glaucoma but for overall vision.

How can glaucoma be prevented?

A regular eye examination can only prevent the eyes from glaucoma damage. Since there is no known way to prevent glaucoma, significant eye loss can be prevented at the early diagnosis. In primary open-angle glaucoma, it affects the side vision first and it progresses to the central vision.

Glaucoma medicines decrease the progression of glaucoma by reducing the increased IOP. The headstand and shoulder stand positions should be avoided if you are doing yoga which will simultaneously increase the IOP. Eye injuries may lead to secondary or traumatic glaucoma. So, protecting eyes from further injuries always helps to prevent glaucoma.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am a glaucoma patient since a year .i used lumigan0. lumigan0. 01%is unavailable in my place .lumigan 0.03%is available. May I use it? What is the substitute eye drop of lumigan0. 01%?

MS - Ophthalmology, MBBS, FRCS
Ophthalmologist, Gurgaon
You can use lumigan 0.03 pc drops. Other options are travatan eye drops. Also show to local eye doctor or us for eye pressure check up if that has not been done.

I have glaucoma of left eye. Bp is 35. Dropping brimonidine tartrate twice daily. Flumail twice daily and travoprost before sleep. Is consumption of alcohol prohibited?

MBBS, Basic Life Support (B.L.S), Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE)
General Physician, Delhi
An occasional glass of wine or a celebratory cocktail will probably not affect your glaucoma, but it is important to have self-control and use good common sense when it comes to diet and lifestyle habits. If still in doubt, you may discuss it furt...

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BHMS, Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education (DNHE), PGDHCM
Homeopathy Doctor, Greater Noida
Untreated glaucoma can lead to permanent damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision where a person cannot see beyond a particular angle. Glaucoma is the third most common cause of blindness worldwide. Symptoms it is usually without symptoms, hen...

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