Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness across the globe. It is estimated that over six million individuals the world over are completely blind in both eyes from Glaucoma and over three million people in the United States suffer in varying degrees from Glaucoma, and yet it still remains largely a mystery to many.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma, put as simply as possible, is a condition that occurs when damage is done to the major nerve connecting the eye to the brain, called the optic nerve, which is responsible for relaying visual signals to the brain. As damage is incurred on this transmitting nerve, the result is loss of vision and a diagnosis of Glaucoma. The optic nerve relays light impulses that it receives from the retina, located inside the eye organ, and transmits those impulses to the brain where the light is processed as visual images that we call sight. When damage to this nerve is present, the common result is a steady loss of peripheral vision and, if not detected and treated, the continued loss of vision until little to no sight from the eye is possible.
DAMAGE TO THE OPTIC NERVE
There are several common reasons for why damage to the optic nerve can be incurred, resulting in an instance of glaucoma, but the two main reasons for damage to be present on the optic nerve can be attributed to increased pressure in the eye, known as high intraocular pressure, or from a lack of blood flow to the eye and optic nerve. When there is an instance of sustained high intraocular pressure, the result is often damage to the optical nerve.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA?
One of the difficulties facing early detection of glaucoma is that there are rarely symptoms associated with the onset of open-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is one of the most typical forms of glaucoma, and is characterized by chronic sight loss. Early stages of open-angle glaucoma bare no symptoms, and it is only in the later stages when peripheral vision begins to fade when open-angle glaucoma begins to manifest itself. Closed-angle glaucoma on the other hand, which is usually characterized by sudden and acute vision loss, can come with a host of early stage symptoms which can include sudden loss of vision, severe eye pain, headaches, and visual blurring.
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
Glaucoma can be treated by medical professionals with the aid of prescription eye drops, pills, or surgery. Getting screened for glaucoma regularly is the best form of prevention. Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glaucoma