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Common Eye Diseases – Glaucoma Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases, affecting 1 in 200 people under the age of 50. It is much more common in older people – almost 10% of all people over 80 have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very dangerous disease because if left untreated it can lead to loss of sight. In addition, the detection of this eye disease is quite difficult, since the symptoms only manifest themselves in more advanced stages.

In glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged, typically due to increased pressure of aqueous humor, the fluid in the eye. The damage to the optic nerve can be minor, but over time it can lead to complete blindness.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

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Glaucoma can effectively be classified into two types: open-angle and closed-angle.

The former is more common and also harder to spot. In open-angle glaucoma, the patient experiences gradual vision loss that, if left untreated, leads to complete blindness. The field of vision gradually decreases and there are changes in the optic nerve. Due to the lack of noticeable changes in the early stages, it becomes difficult to detect them. More than 90% of all glaucoma cases in the United States are open-angle glaucoma cases, although this number is much lower in Asian and European countries.

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common. Symptoms are also much more acute and include pain in the eyes, blurred vision, halos or lights, extremely red eyes, and nausea. Vision loss can be very sudden and extremely painful. Angle-closure glaucoma needs immediate treatment because it can lead to complete blindness very quickly. It affects less than 10% of people in the United States.

Causes of Glaucoma

As described above, the main cause of this eye disease is an increase in pressure on the eye nerve from the fluid (aqueous humor) present in the eyes. This increase in pressure itself is influenced by genetics. For example, East Asians are more likely to have narrow-angle glaucoma than open-angle glaucoma, while people of African descent are three times more likely to have open-angle glaucoma than their Caucasian counterparts.

Other causes of glaucoma include diabetes, blood pressure fluctuations, high blood pressure, and trauma. This eye disease is also related to age and is much more common in older people. This is due to genetics as well as increasing health problems in the elderly such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

Cures of Glaucoma

There is currently no permanent cure for glaucoma, and all remedies can only provide temporary relief. In early stages, glaucoma can be corrected by taking external medications such as eye drops. These eye drops help reduce pressure in the eyes.

In later stages, surgery may be effective for temporary relief. The operation can be performed by conventional methods or by laser. In most cases, such surgeries do not provide long-lasting cures.

Due to its genetic origin, glaucoma is a difficult disease to cure. However, one can prevent its occurrence by taking good care of one’s health, especially against diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which play a role in this eye disease.

Thanks to Benjamin M. Thomas

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