The disease that weakens sight and causes blindness. How to avoid it?

One of the vital senses for the human being is vision, since information from outside enters from the eyes. That is why any complication that threatens its proper functioning must be prevented prematurely.

National Eye Institute explain what glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the nerve at the back of the eye, known as the optic nerve. Also, it falls under the category of hereditary conditions.

Glaucoma affects the optic nerve.  (American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Glaucoma affects the optic nerve. (American Academy of Ophthalmology). – Photo: American Academy of Ophthalmology

The symptoms may be noticeable as mild, but it is possible that they gradually begin to increase in intensity. This disease does not have a cure as such, although it has special treatments that control it and prevent it from affecting the daily lives of patients who have it.

As mentioned above, glaucoma is a group of diseases. That is why it has different types, which depend on the symptoms and state of the condition, according to Mayo Clinic:

Open angle glaucoma: It is one of the most common and appears gradually. This type of glaucoma is not painful and does not cause any change in vision at first. Symptoms include:

  • Irregular blind spots in side (peripheral) or central vision, often occurring in both eyes.
  • Tunnel vision in advanced stages.

Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma: It appears when the iris is very close to the drainage angle in the eye and it blocks it. At the moment that the drainage angle is totally blocked, the most common is that the eye pressure increases very quicklygenerating a sharp attack.

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Unlike the previous type, this is a high risk sign, so going to a medical center will be vital in the shortest possible time. The symptoms generated by this disease are:

  • Blurry vision suddenly.
  • Intense pain in the eye.
  • Headache.
  • You have stomach pain (nausea).
  • Vomits.
  • See rainbow colored rings or halos around the lights.
Eye with glaucoma.  (Photo: gece33/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Eye with glaucoma. (Photo: gece33/Getty Images/iStockphoto) – Photo: gece33/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Normal tension glaucoma: This is the third type and occurs when there is eye pressure within normal ranges, but there are blind spots in the field of vision and optimal nerve damage.

Pigmentary glaucoma: For this category, small pigment granules are detached from the iris and block or slow the drainage of fluid from the eye. Activities like jogging can remove the pigment granules. This causes pigment granules to be deposited in the tissue located at the angle where the iris and cornea meet. Granule deposits cause an increase in pressure.

Although each type is different, they share some symptoms to some extent. That is why Mayo Clinic recommends these measures to detect the symptoms and control the disease, so that it does not advance in stages and do more harm:

Get regular eye checkups: Comprehensive, regular eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages, before significant damage is done. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a comprehensive eye exam every 5 to 10 years for people under age 40, every 2 to 4 years for citizens ages 40 to 54, every 1 to 3 years for age 55 to 64 , and every 1 to 2 years for people over 65 years of age.

eye exam
Regular medical examinations allow you to avoid experiencing the first symptoms. – Photo: Getty Images
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Know the family’s ocular medical history: Glaucoma is usually hereditary. Therefore, having a record of the predecessor generations allows us to know the degree of probability.

Wear eye protection: Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. They use protection in daily activities, especially if they are related to handling power tools or in connection with sports.

Using prescription drops regularly: Glaucoma eye drops greatly reduce the risk of high eye pressure increasing to glaucoma. Using eye drops under a medical opinion prevents the disease, even if symptoms do not occur.

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