Between 2020 and 2035, Glaucoma UK estimates that cases of glaucoma will rise by almost a third. Often symptomless, there are currently around 80 million people around the world suffering with the condition.
The rise in cases has been put down to an ageing population. Certainly, it has never been more important to stay on top of your eye health. Here, we look at what glaucoma is, and the common treatments available if you do develop the condition.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the most common cause of blindness in those over the age of 60. It is a disease of the eye that damages the optic nerve. Over time, fluid builds up in the eye putting it under a lot of pressure. The added pressure damages the optic nerve, which can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Common symptoms of glaucoma to watch out for include:
- A red eye
- Intense pain in the eye
- Tenderness around the eye area
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Some patients don’t experience any symptoms at all until the disease has progressed. In addition, it can occur alongside other conditions such as cataracts.
What causes glaucoma?
Your eyes have a natural drainage system that helps to keep the pressure of the eye balanced. If it stops working correctly, fluid will build up, and eventually damage the optic nerve.
There are over a million nerve fibres included in the optic nerve. As the disease progresses, the nerve fibres begin to die causing blind spots. Importantly, if it isn’t treated early enough, eventually all the nerve fibres will die, causing blindness.
Common glaucoma treatments
It is important to note that any damage to the eye caused by glaucoma is usually permanent. Therefore, patients are advised to seek treatment as soon as they discover any of the symptoms of the disease.
Although treatments cannot repair any existing damage, they can stop it from worsening, helping to save your sight.
In early and mild cases, medicated eye drops may be used to help fluid flow easier, reducing the pressure in the eye.
In moderate to severe cases, surgery may be recommended. There are several procedures that can help to treat glaucoma, including laser treatment and surgery. In some cases, cataract surgery is the best way to treat both conditions. Certainly, Mr Shalchi will be able to advise on the best surgical approach for the best results as it will depend on your individual circumstances.
Routine check-ups are the best way to catch glaucoma early and save sight. Keep on top of your eye health by booking an eye test with Mr Zaid Shalchi today.