Glaucoma symptoms

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions which affect the optic nerve. If left untreated, this condition could permanently damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness. Today, it is considered to be second of the leading causes of blindness. It affects 1 of 200 individuals who are fifty years old and below and 1 in 10 of those who are over eighty years old.

Because of the damage that glaucoma can do to the eye, it is important that as soon as a patient is diagnosed, certain tests and steps are taken for the improvement of the condition. Unfortunately, however, glaucoma does rarely manifests any symptoms during the early stages which is why an individual should have eye checks done regularly. These could be performed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. These eye health professionals would be diagnosing glaucoma based on intraocular pressure, optic nerve head appearance and visual field tests. Through diagnosing glaucoma early on, early treatment can also be done, which would help in stalling or altogether eliminating the possibility of permanent eye damage.

There are two main categories of glaucoma: the open angle and the closed angle glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma tends to progress slower, which could make the condition unnoticeable to the patient. As a result, the patient does not realize that there is already something wrong until they have experience vision loss. On the other hand, closed angle glaucoma appears suddenly and is painful, with vision loss progressing quickly. However, because of the pain that the affected patient may experience, they usually seek medical attention before any permanent damage is done. Some other types of glaucoma would include: neovascular, normal tension, pigmentary, secondary and traumatic glaucoma.

Glaucoma is often caused by heredity, particularly in those individuals who have a history of the condition in the family or of Japanese or African descent. There are also some individuals who are at higher risk of developing the condition such as those who have heart problems or have had eye injuries.

Some of the symptoms of glaucoma which are usually experienced as the condition progresses would include the following: pain on or around the eyeball; mild to severe headache; nausea and vomiting; visual disturbances such as seeing halos around lights; patchy loss of peripheral vision; reduced clarity of colors; redness of the eyes; and pupil dilation. Most of the symptoms are temporary and go away after a couple of hours. There are even some people who mistake the headaches and nausea for migraines. However, headache and nausea that is caused by glaucoma is usually accompanied by vision loss.

Once diagnosed by an eye care professional, there are many things that can be done to alleviate or treat glaucoma symptoms and treat glaucoma. One would be through making use of prescription eye drops. Prescription eye drops are generally formulated in such a way that could improve vision clarity and relieve the pressure on the optic nerves. This is usually the first step in treating the symptoms of glaucoma and in correcting the imbalance of the aqueous humor in the eyes.

Nausea and vomiting caused by glaucoma can be directly dealt with through taking over the counter stomach remedies such as antacids. However, for severe nausea and vomiting, the physician may prescribe stronger medications. The physician could also work on relieving the pressure that is on the eye, which could eliminate the feelings of nausea and vomiting.

Some of the commonly used medications for treating glaucoma and glaucoma symptoms would include: prostaglandin analogs such as latanoprost (Xalatan), travoprost (Travatan) and bimatoprost (Lumigan) to increase the uveoscleral outflow of aqueous humor; topical beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists like timolol, levobunolol and betaxolol to decrease the production of aqueous humor by the ciliary body; alpha2-adrenergic agonists like brimonidine to decrease aqueous production and increase trabecular outflow; less-selective sympathomimetics; miotic agents; carbonic anhydrase inhibitors; and physostigmine.

There are also some medical procedures that could be done to treat glaucoma. There is laser iridotomy which involves making a hole in the eyes to allow the normal draining of the eyes that have narrow or closed angles. Another procedure that could be done would be laser trabeculoplasty which is performed on those patients which have open angle glaucoma.

As always, prevention is better than cure. Some of the ways which can help in the prevention of glaucoma would be having regular eye check-ups, avoiding physical activities which could lead to eye injury and to avoid medications which could increase the risk for developing glaucoma.

Last updated on Apr 2nd, 2010 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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