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Glaucoma, the ‘silent thief of sight’: diagnosis, ways to cope with vision loss Health

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye, resulting in vision loss and, despite being the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, is often under-treated. It is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because symptoms usually do not appear until the disease has progressed significantly, where peripheral and gradual vision loss is common. This makes it difficult for patients to detect it until it is too late.

Glaucoma, the 'silent thief of sight': Diagnosis, ways to cope with vision loss (Unsplash)
Glaucoma, the ‘silent thief of sight’: Diagnosis, ways to cope with vision loss (Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Roma Johri at Sri Sankara Nethralaya in Hyderabad revealed, “There are certain risk factors associated with glaucoma, such as age, nearsightedness, family history, eye injury, Certain eye surgeries and medical conditions. as diabetes and hypertension. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma, with 12 million affected by the condition in India alone, and about 10 percent of the population suffering from blindness due to glaucoma.

He said, “Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the causes and symptoms of glaucoma. To increase the chances of early diagnosis, it is important to have an annual eye exam with an ophthalmologist. Delayed diagnosis often results in advanced stages of the disease in many patients.”

Talking about how it develops, he explained, “Glaucoma develops when the fluid produced by the eye cannot flow out through the trabecular meshwork located between the cornea and the iris, blocking the channel Is. This leads to fluid accumulation and an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP), which can compress the optic nerve and disrupt the conversion of light into nerve signals. If left untreated, it can result in visual changes or even vision loss.

Highlighting the types of glaucoma, he shared, “Glaucoma can be classified into two main types: open-angle and closed-angle (or narrow-angle) glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the cornea of ​​the eye Fluids are unable to effectively drain from the eye. The anterior chamber, even if the angle is unobstructed. This type of glaucoma is often asymptomatic and causes gradual vision loss, earning it the nickname “the silent thief of sight”. Closed-angle glaucoma, on the other hand, develops when the drainage canals become blocked, preventing efficient emptying of the eye’s fluid. This leads to fluid buildup and increased intraocular pressure (IOP). While less common than open-angle glaucoma, closed-angle glaucoma can cause sudden vision changes, such as blurred vision, halos around lights, and poor night vision. Prompt management is important because if left untreated It can cause total and permanent blindness.

diagnosis and treatment

Dr Roma Johri said, “Glaucoma tests are usually painless and brief. During the exam, your eye doctor will check your vision and use drops to dilate your pupils to examine your eyes. They will inspect your optic nerve for any signs of glaucoma and may take photographs to track any changes over time. They will also perform a tonometry test to measure your eye pressure, and to determine whether will do a visual field test to see if you have lost any peripheral vision. If your eye doctor suspects you may have glaucoma, they may order special imaging tests of your optic nerve to help with the diagnosis. Are.

She stressed, “It’s important to note that having higher than normal eye pressure does not necessarily mean you have glaucoma. Some individuals with normal eye pressure may still develop glaucoma, while others with higher pressure may develop.” People may not have this condition. In cases where high pressure is present without any optic nerve damage, it is called ocular hypertension. If you are diagnosed with ocular hypertension, your doctor will evaluate your condition. will recommend frequent eye exams to monitor. Unfortunately, any damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible. However, with proper treatment and regular check-ups, it is possible to slow or prevent vision loss, especially If the disease is detected at an early stage.

Dr. Roma Johri suggests, “The primary way of treating glaucoma is to lower the intraocular pressure. This can be achieved through a variety of approaches, including prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, surgery, or a combination of these methods. Your eye doctor will determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on the severity and progress of your glaucoma. Regular check-ups will also be needed to monitor your eye pressure and the effectiveness of your treatment.

Stating that awareness is the key, the health expert concluded, “Glaucoma awareness in developing countries like India is quite low as compared to developed countries. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are important to delay the progression of glaucoma.” Educating people about glaucoma can help reduce blindness caused by glaucoma to some extent. The disease is a growing epidemic and a major cause of preventable blindness worldwide. It is possible to prevent irreversible damage from occurring. The more people learn about glaucoma and its risk factors, the better equipped they are to take preventive measures and seek ophthalmic care to stop the progression of the disease.


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