Why you should care more about glaucoma | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 12, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:10 PM, November 12, 2017

Why you should care more about glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition that can damage your optic nerve, usually because of too much pressure in your eye. The optic nerve does an important job. It sends signals from your eye to your brain, which turns them into an image you can see. When the optic nerve is not working right, you will get problems with your vision. You can even lose your sight.

Since glaucoma sneak up on you slowly, symptoms may not show up until the disease is already far along. Without treatment, you will slowly lose your peripheral (side) vision. That means you may miss objects that you would normally see out of the corner of your eye. It is a bit like looking through a tunnel.

Unlike cataract, changes in the eye sight due to glaucoma is irreversible. This is the most alarming issue. The eye sight lost can not be restored. Treatment of the glaucoma aims to stop further loss of vision. This is why, early intervention is necessary. But, in most instances, patients feel it very late stage due to lack of awareness. Diseases like diabetes contribute to the delayed realisation to many folds. Regular eye test can prevent this loss to a great extent.

Ophthalmologists will likely suggest eyedrops or pills to manage your glaucoma. They cut how much fluid your eyes make and help it drain off. Take medicine every day to keep your condition under control. Let your doctor know if you get side effects, like burning, stinging, and redness in your eyes.

Your doctor may suggest a procedure called laser trabeculoplasty to treat open-angle glaucoma. He will numb your eye and then use a laser beam to make small holes in the drainage channel to help fluid flow out. Usually doctors treat one eye at a time. Laser surgery can lower pressure in your eyes, but the effects may not be permanent. Some people need more than one surgery to get long-term results.

If medicine and laser surgery don't lower your eye pressure enough, your doctor might recommend a procedure called trabeculectomy. S/he creates a flap in the white part of your eye to let more fluid drain out. About half of people who have this surgery don't need glaucoma medicine anymore. But sometimes the opening closes again and you will need a second surgery.

Most of the people with glaucoma don't know they have it. To prevent vision loss, know your family history and other risks. Get an eye exam every 1 to 2 years. If your doctor tells you that you have glaucoma, follow the treatment directions carefully.

Eyedrops, surgery, and other treatments can help you manage your glaucoma and prevent you from losing your vision. You will need to keep up with your treatment throughout your life to keep your eye pressure in check. Your doctor will want you to see him/her for checkups a few times a year.

Never neglect glaucoma.

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