Glaucoma! You Might Be Going Blind Without Knowing It, Please Check Your Eye Pressure Now!

You should treat this piece as one of the most serious write-ups you’re reading today. Treat with urgency. If you’re reading this and you’ve never gone into an eye hospital to see an ophthalmologist to check your eye pressure, note that you might be going blind gradually without knowing it. Among the two common eye problems in Nigeria are cataract and glaucoma. While cataract can be cured, glaucoma can’t. The two eventually lead to total blindness. But while a person who has cataract can still see as cataract can be removed through surgery, the person who has glaucoma will never see again once blind.

The secret behind glaucoma is early diagnosis. Once it is detected early it can be managed through the right medications and you will never go blind. If not detected early you will only find out when you are almost blind. Why not walk into a hospital now and get the ophthalmologist there to check your eye pressure immediately?

What is glaucoma?
In simple terms, glaucoma refers to a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight. According to WebMD, glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. It’s often linked to a buildup of pressure inside your eye.
The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure (IOC), can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to your brain. If the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life. This is why you need a checkup to detect the disease early in life. As has been pointed out, the optic nerve is what transmits images to the brain. It is the nerve that ensure you see and that is why increased pressure in your eye damages gradually. This why you need to control the pressure if you detect this disease early in life.

First signs of glaucoma;
Other symptoms usually are related to sudden increases in Intraocular Pressure (IOP), particularly with acute angle-closure glaucoma, and may include blurred vision, halos around lights, severe eye pain, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Types of glaucoma
The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms, according to American Optometrists Association (AOA). Many people are not aware they have the condition until they have suffered significant vision loss. Initially, glaucoma affects peripheral or side vision, but it can advance to central vision loss. If not detected early and treated, glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness.

A less common type of glaucoma, acute angle-closure glaucoma, usually occurs abruptly due to a rapid increase of pressure in the eye. Its symptoms may include severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye, seeing halos or colored rings around lights and blurred vision. This is an emergency condition in which severe vision loss can occur quickly; see your optometrist immediately.

Can stress cause glaucoma?
On whether stress can cause glaucoma, psychophysiological stress, literature suggests that stress may play a part in the precipitation of acute closed-angle glaucoma because intraocular pressure (IOP) can be affected by the emotional state of the patient.

What is the common age for appearances of glaucoma
Glaucoma is commonly found among people that are above 40 years of age, but the advice is to have regular checkup from age 35. The term “early-onset glaucoma” may be used when the disorder appears before the age of 40. This is not to say it is impossible to find glaucoma among even toddlers, just that it is very rare.
According to American Optometrist Association (AOA), glaucoma, which is the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S, most often occurs in people over age 40, although an infant (congenital) form of glaucoma exists. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40 and Hispanics over the age of 60 have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation and taking medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.
Is there a cure for glaucoma?
You might have seen promotional messages especially from herbal medicine hawkers saying that there’s a permanent cure for glaucoma. The truth is there’s no cure for now. It’s an ailment you have to manage by controllig the eye pressure (IOP) which could damage the optic nerve and make a person go blind for life. While there are no known ways of preventing glaucoma, you could prevent blindness or significant vision loss from glaucoma if the disease is recognized in the early stages. What glaucoma medicationsdo is to slow the progression of glaucoma by reducing elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) to prevent damage to the optic nerve.

Regular checkups can help slow or prevent vision loss, especially if you detect the disease at its early stage. It is important to note that glaucoma usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms until it has caused permanent damage.

The main aim of glaucoma treatment is to lower pressure in your eye (intraocular pressure). Depending on your situation, your options may include eyedrops, laser treatment or surgery. Your doctor should make this options for you.

When you receive a diagnosis of glaucoma, you’re facing lifelong treatment, regular checkups and the possibility of progressive vision loss. This is why you should take this article seriously.

So the key to preventing blindness from glaucoma is detecting it early. This is why we suggest that you walk into a hospital right away and see an ophthalmologist to check your eye pressure. You might be going blind gradually without knowing that. If you’ve not done that, go immediately you finish reading this article and check your eye pressure before it is too late. You might be going blind for life without knowing that.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

1 Comment

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  1. Nweke Nnaemeka Uzoma

    This is really a terrible disease. I will go and check my eyes

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