Glaucoma is a disease of the eyes that causes irreversible blindness if not treated early.
In a normal eye, a fluid called aqueous humour nourishes the inside of the eye just like blood nourishing our all other organs.
This fluid then leaves the eye through a sieve-like structure called the angle of the eye.
Normally, the rate of production of this fluid rate of excretion which keeps our eye pressure within normal limits.
Any imbalance in this production & excretion process which leads to abnormally high Intraocular pressure can lead to optic nerve damage & irreversible blindness.
- Glaucoma does not cause blindness overnight. It is a slowly progressive disease.
- It is only after 40% of nerve damage that patients show up visual field defects.
Today, Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world after Cataract.
- Worldwide 60 million people are affected by Glaucoma.
- 12 million patients in India alone.
- The frightening truth about Glaucoma is that blindness caused due to it is irreversible, unlike cataracts.
- But, the heartening and noteworthy fact is that blindness due to glaucoma is completely avoidable if detected and treated early.
A huge number of glaucoma blind people today is not because we don’t have a treatment for it, but mostly because most of us are totally ignorant & unaware of the existence of this blinding disease. Early detection is key to its prevention.
Who is at risk for Glaucoma?
- Any person aged 40 years and above.
- A person with a family history of Glaucoma.
- Anyone using thick glasses.
- A person with a history of previous eye injury.
- A person who is on long term steroid therapy (medications containing Betamethasone, Dexamethasone, prednisolone, etc.) in the form of eye drops, ointments, tablets, inhalers & skin ointments.
How is it diagnosed?
There is no screening test as on today, only a comprehensive eye examination can pick up early glaucoma. It includes :
Slit-lamp examination-front of an eye.
Dilated fundus examination- back of the eye (optic nerve and retina).
Checking intraocular pressure with tonometry.