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Glaucoma

 

Glaucoma is disease of the optic nerve involving loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern of optic neuropathy. This may be due to unstable blood flow.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40.

 

Cause of Glaucoma

Raised intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma, there is no set threshold for intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma.

One person may develop nerve damage at a relatively low pressure, while another person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage.

Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant visual field loss, which can progress to blindness.

Glaucoma affects one in two hundred people aged fifty and younger and one in ten over the age of eighty.

People with a family history of glaucoma have about a six percent chance of developing glaucoma.

Diabetics and African-American people are three times more likely to develop primary open angle glaucoma.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Screening for glaucoma is usually performed as part of a standard eye examination performed by ophthalmologists and optometrists.

Testing for glaucoma should include measurements of the intraocular pressure via tonometry, changes in size or shape of the eye, and an examination of the optic nerve to look for any visible damage to it, or change in the cup-to-disc ratio.

If there is any suspicion of damage to the optic nerve, a formal visual field test should be performed.

Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy may also be performed.

Guides To Glaucoma

Prevention & Treatment

Glaucoma cannot be prevented, nor can vision lost to glaucoma be restored. If, however, an annual examination routine is followed, glaucoma can be controlled, as long as it is diagnosed early.

As yet, there is not yet a cure for glaucoma. However, Glaucoma may be treated with either medications or surgery.

Supplements - certain nutritional elements that are known to help prevent the onset of glaucoma and boost eyesight include: Inositol, Bilberry, and niacin. More on Glaucoma Nutritional Supplements

Drugs - Although intraocular pressure is only one major risk factors of glaucoma, lowering it using pharmaceuticals or surgery is currently the primary glaucoma treatment.

Studies in the 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowers intraocular pressure.

Surgery - both laser and conventional surgeries are performed to treat glaucoma. Surgery is the primary therapy for those with congenital glaucoma. Generally, these operations are a temporary solution.

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