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