Did you know glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians? During Glaucoma Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) advises the public that the best defense against developing glaucoma-related blindness is by having routine, comprehensive eye exams.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. This often occurs when fluid builds up in the front your eye. This is often misunderstood, because of the silent symptoms that some patients may have.
What are the several types of Glaucoma?
• Open-angle – this is the most common form of glaucoma that occurs when the meshwork of the eye gradually becomes less efficient at draining fluid.
• Normal-tension– occurs when the nerve is damaged even though the eye pressure is not high
• Angle-closure– less common form if glaucoma but occurs when the drainage canals are blocked which results in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure.
• Congenital – this is a rare form of glaucoma that develops in infants and young children that can be inherited. With this form of glaucoma there is an incomplete development of the eye’s drainage canals during the prenatal period.
An estimated of over 3 million Americans has been diagnosed with glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.
• Open-angle – there are normally no warning signs, but some patients will not notice a change in their vision at first because of the initial loss of vision is of side or peripheral vision, and the visual acuity or sharpness of vision is maintained until later in he disease.
•Normal-tension – people do not usually get symptoms until the late stages of the disease, which is unfortunate.
• Angle-closure – an acute attack can occur when having this form of glaucoma, some symptoms are suddenly blurry vision, severe eye pain, rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights.
• Congenital – excessive tearing, painful oversensitivity to light, and involuntary protective closing to the eyelids
Tonometry – examining the inner eye pressure
Ophthalmoscopy – examining the shape and color of the optic nerve
Perimetry – examining field of vision
Gonioscopy -examining the angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea
Pachymetry – examining the thickness of the cornea
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. The damage to your optic nerve is permanent and cannot be reversed. However, there are various treatments for the early stages of this disease such as:
• Surgery – Laser trabeculoplasty, Laser iridotomy, Peripheral iridectomy, Trabeculectomy and Aqueous Shunt surgery.
There is no direct way to prevent from getting glaucoma, however there are many things that you can do to lower your risk of getting this disease.
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Get regular, comprehensive eye exams
• Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses and hats when you’re outdoors
• Eating foods containing vitamin A, such as liver, sweet potatoes, carrots and mangoes.
• Eating dark green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, these foods contain carotenoids which may help defend you against several medical condition such as glaucoma.