There are a lot of questions about glaucoma definition and glaucoma symptoms. Along with the questions around what is glaucoma, there are also speculations whether other eye diseases can be types of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very dangerous disease with irreversible effects on your vision. Find out more about this eye disease!
Glaucoma Definition and Everything You Need to Know
1. What Are Glaucoma Symptoms?
Unfortunately, there are no warning signs for open-angle glaucoma. A patient can have glaucoma and continue to feel healthy. Some may experience gradual vision loss in their peripherals but may not notice it. However, acute-angle glaucoma has symptoms of severe eye pain, redness in the eye, nausea, and blurred vision.
2. Where Does Glaucoma Occur?
The most common glaucoma definition refers to it as a group of diseases that ultimately damage the optic nerve. It occurs when the fluid of the eye’s anterior chamber flows out through an open angle where your iris and cornea meet. It then creates fluid build up and increases eye pressure, which damages the optic nerve.
3. Who Develops Glaucoma?
Patients who develop glaucoma have an increased fluid pressure in their eyes. Each person has a different tolerance for eye pressure and may not experience optic nerve damage. However, this eye disease is a lot more common with people over the age of 40 and people with a family history of glaucoma.
4. When Does Glaucoma Develop?
Glaucoma commonly develops with age when your cornea thins or when you’re experiencing chronic eye inflammation. These can lead to a fluid build-up in your eye and increase in pressure. Some medication can also increase the fluid pressure in your eyes.
5. What Are Glaucoma Risk Factors?
The most common risk factor for glaucoma is age. People over the age of 60 are highly at risk, but African-Americans aged 40 have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. A family history of glaucoma is also a risk factor. Others include physical eye injuries, thinner corneas, and medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
6. Why Is Glaucoma Dangerous?
Glaucoma is a very dangerous eye disease because it has no symptoms or preventative measures. If left untreated, your glaucoma can result in vision loss. Due to the damage to your optic nerve, this vision loss is also irreversible and can lead to complete blindness.
7. Why Does Glaucoma Affect Peripheral Vision?
As the fluid builds up the pressure in your eye, you slowly lose your sight. The build-up and small damage to the optic nerve will first affect your peripheral vision before your whole sense of sight.
8. Will Glaucoma Cause Blindness?
If left untreated, glaucoma will worsen and cause blindness because of the risk it poses to your optic nerve. Complete and permanent vision loss is the most dangerous effect of glaucoma.
9. Why Will Glaucoma Lead to Blindness?
The increased eye pressure will be enough to damage the optic nerve permanently and will stop the eye from sending information to the brain. Once the pressure damages the optic nerve, any vision loss is permanent.
10. Why Is Glaucoma Screening Important?
Because open-angle glaucomas have no symptoms and acute-angle glaucoma rapidly progresses, the best way to diagnose glaucoma is through regular eye screening and various glaucoma tests.
11. What Are Glaucoma Tests?
Different kinds of glaucoma tests are used to detect glaucoma. A dilated eye exam involves eye drops, which dilate the eyes to allow the ophthalmologist to examine the optic nerve, while Tonometry involves the insertion of a tonometer into the eye to measure the eye pressure. Other tests include pachymetry, visual acuity test, and a visual field test.
12. Are Glaucoma Tests Painful?
Glaucoma tests are not always painful. This is because most invasive procedures include the use application of eye drops to numb your eyes, while non-invasive procedures only include a visual field test.
13. Where to Get Glaucoma Test?
You need to go to an ophthalmologist to have a complete eye exam for glaucoma. This glaucoma screening may involve more than the previously mentioned glaucoma tests. A more comprehensive glaucoma exam will include the inspection of your drainage angle and a computer measurement of the optic nerve.
14. Can Glaucoma Be Reversed?
There is no cure for glaucoma and no way to reverse any damage it has caused to your optic nerve or vision. That’s why early diagnosis of the disease is important. There are only treatments to prevent the disease from worsening.
15. What Are Glaucoma Treatments?
Most treatments for glaucoma can only delay its progression or stop it. These treatments include medication and surgery. Any of these treatments can prevent further vision loss due to glaucoma.
16. When Is Glaucoma Surgery Necessary?
Glaucoma surgery aims to lessen the eye pressure by draining the fluid to stop the build-up. Surgery is only needed if medication is not enough to manage glaucoma. A patient can also have glaucoma surgery to eliminate the necessity for medication.
17. What Are Glaucoma Medications?
Glaucoma medications are prescribed to help decrease the elevated eye pressure. Others will cause the eye to produce less fluid or help drain the fluid from your eyes. These medications are often in the form of pills or eyedrops.
18. Are Glaucoma Eye Drops Expensive?
Most of the branded glaucoma eye drops are expensive. Brands like Xalatan can cost up to $185, while generic glaucoma eye drops can cost $15-$30. Besides, most branded and generic medicines have the same ingredients and potency.
19. Where To Buy Glaucoma Eye Drops?
Glaucoma eye drops are prescription medicines you can buy from any pharmacy. You can also find online pharmaceutical stores which sell glaucoma eye drops. Make sure you have a prescription from your doctor before buying one.
20. What Should Glaucoma Patients Avoid?
The treatment for glaucoma continues for the rest of the patient’s life. The best way to ensure the disease doesn’t progress is by avoiding anything which can increase eye pressure. Some of these may include smoking, coffee, alcohol, and drinking large amounts of water over a short period of time.
21. Are Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration the Same?
Macular degeneration and glaucomas are different eye conditions. Glaucoma damages the optic nerves with increased eye pressure, while macular degeneration involves the deterioration of the eye’s macula. Both diseases can be caused by aging.
22. Are Glaucoma and Cataracts Related?
Glaucomas and cataracts are both eye conditions that come with age. Though these two conditions are very different, they can naturally coexist and worsen. These conditions don’t result into another, but a glaucoma surgery can result in cataracts.
23. What Are Glaucoma and Trachoma?
Trachomas are defined as an eye infection which affects both eyes, while glaucoma definition describes it as a group of diseases increasing the fluid eye pressure which damages the optic nerves. Glaucoma and trachoma are two distinct eye conditions, but they’re both common causes of blindness.
Watch this video from Osmosis for a quick overview of glaucoma!
Knowing the glaucoma definition alone is not enough to prevent glaucoma. The most effective way of preventing the disease from progressing is through regular eye exams and an optimal treatment of the disease. There are no warning signs for glaucoma, but if you think you’re at risk of developing the disease, book an appointment with your ophthalmologists immediately.
Have you experienced glaucoma before? Do you know anyone whose had glaucoma? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comments section below!