4 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT GLAUCOMA
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Glaucoma is a medical condition when the individual suffers from damage to the eye’s optic nerve. This damage is often the result of abnormally high pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 50 but can affect all age groups.
There are a lot of myths about Glaucoma, in this article we look at some of the common ones.
MYTH: Glaucoma Has Obvious Symptoms
Many patients who have acute angle closure glaucoma may not notice their symptoms. This is because, during the early stages, symptoms are minor or not present. This can make glaucoma especially difficult to detect unless a patient seeks a regular eye examination.
In moderate to severe cases, symptoms of glaucoma can include blurred vision, severe pain in the eye and head, and nausea. If detected early on, a doctor can prescribe medication to protect against loss of vision. The risk of glaucoma increases with age. A patient has a higher chance of a successful treatment during their younger years.
Glaucoma should be treated as soon as possible. Some symptoms remain dormant in the early stages. Ignoring glaucoma until the condition becomes more severe can make treatment more complicated and lead to severe symptoms. Treatment can be effective in the early stages of glaucoma and prevent further damage.
MYTH: Glaucoma Only Affects One Eye
Glaucoma usually affects both eyes, however, glaucoma can be worse in one eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can spread from one eye to the other. The reality is that glaucoma is a progressive condition and does not affect both eyes at the same rate in most cases. It may take 5 to 10 years for glaucoma to affect the other eye.
It is currently not known why each eye is affected differently by glaucoma. Research points to genetics as a primary factor. In rare cases, a surgical correction in one eye can trigger symptoms of glaucoma in another eye. Events like this still need further investigation to understand the underlying causes.
MYTH: People with perfect vision cannot develop glaucoma
Glaucoma can be hereditary or become activated later in life. The observation that glaucoma can occur in people with 20/20 vision is taken from clinical studies. These studies are usually performed in patients who are able to detect glaucoma in the early stages.
People with 20/20 vision who develop glaucoma in one eye may retain 20/20 vision in the unaffected eye. If treatment is taken soon enough, the effects of glaucoma can be mitigated and localized to only one eye. Avoiding long exposure to bright lights and other harmful stimuli to the eyes can lower the chances of advanced progression.
MYTH: There’s nothing you can do once you have glaucoma.
Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma. However, glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, medication, or surgery. A doctor can diagnose an individual through a series of measurements and tests. Doctors generally check for intraocular pressure, damage to the optic nerve, corneal thickness, and a few other factors. Patients are scheduled for regular checkups to prevent further vision loss.
Prescription medications such as eye drops include biological inhibitor and agonists that improve the flow of liquid to the eye. More severe symptoms of glaucoma may require surgery. Unlike medication, surgery quickly drains excess fluid from the eye to relieve pressure. Some common surgeries include laser therapy and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).
The best way to prevent Glaucoma is to go for regular eye exams. There are many non-invasive procedures that a doctor can offer a patient during the early stages. An ophthalmologist can offer proper guidance for deciding which is the best treatment.
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