Are You at Risk of Glaucoma?

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Glaucoma can cause blindness and it is a leading cause of blindness in most countries. Chronic form of glaucoma can cause irreversible damage to optic nerve and vision even before the diagnosis. Hence, it is important for all of us to be aware of the risk factors that may cause glaucoma.

The risk factors that may cause glaucoma, include,

  • High intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eyeball due to presence of fluid inside the eyeball, known as aqueous humor)
  • Elderly individuals of over 60 years are at risk of glaucoma
  • Certain races have more number of glaucoma than others, such as Hispanics, Blacks etc.
  • If you have family history (first degree relative with glaucoma) of glaucoma you are at greater risk of developing the disease
  • If you have some vision problem such as myopia or nearsightedness
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sickle cell anemia etc. Are at greater risk of developing glaucoma
  • If you have history of eye injury or eye surgery
  • If you are using corticosteroid eye drops for long duration you are at high risk to develop glaucoma
  • If you have estrogen deficiency, may be due to removal of both ovaries due to some medical condition, you have higher risk of glaucoma

Diagnosis of glaucoma:

Your doctor will suspect glaucoma when you describe your vision problems. He/she may suggest following tests to diagnose glaucoma,

  • Measure intraocular pressure: this is usually high in case of glaucoma, except in case of normal tension glaucoma, where you may have glaucoma without any rise in intraocular pressure. Measurement of intraocular pressure in known as tonometry
  • Your doctor will test your field of vision for any blind spot or any other abnormality i your field of vision
  • Your doctor will perform tests for determining the extent of damage to optic nerve
  • Your doctor will measure thickness of cornea, the process known as pachymetry
  • Your doctor may inspect the drainage angle of your eyes to find out if you have some drainage problem

Once your vision problem is diagnosed as glaucoma, your doctor will advise accordingly. If you have open-angle glaucoma, your doctor will prescribe appropriate medication to reduce intraocular pressure and prevent damage to optic nerve. If your glaucoma is acute angle-closure glaucoma, your doctor may advice immediate surgery to prevent further damage to optic nerve and preserve your vision.

 

Image courtesy of [graur razvan ionut] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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