Glaucoma: causes and symptoms
Glaucoma is an often very insidious eye disease that affects about 2% of people over 40. It is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve and is one of the most common causes of blindness in people over 60.
The definition of glaucoma
Glaucoma, caused by difficulty in draining the aqueous humour, causes the pressure inside the eye to rise. When the eye's ducts can no longer work, the pressure on the optic nerve can cause a decrease in the visual field, which, without treatment, can lead to the loss of sight.
To summarize, we could compare the functioning of the eye to that of a faucet. When it is no longer possible to properly empty the liquid (aqueous humour), the pressure becomes too great and forms a blockage. But what does glaucoma consist of, and what to do with it if it sets in?
Common types of glaucoma
Eye health can be very fragile. Traumatic events, as well as a specific medical history, can lead to eye diseases. As far as glaucoma is concerned, there are two types. One is a chronic disease and the other results from a traumatic event for the eye.
Both have similar long-term effects, but the precursor symptoms are different. As for open-angle, glaucoma develops over a long time, while angle-closure glaucoma will be faster to appear.
This type of glaucoma is the most common and develops without signalling. It represents 90% of cases and is categorized as a chronic disease. This variation of glaucoma develops over time, usually in both eyes.
It can even take decades before a symptom appears! But, if left untreated, this gradual build-up of pressure in the eye can damage the optic nerve until vision is lost.
Closed or acute angle
Considered a real emergency, this variation of glaucoma can be very painful. Usually following a trauma to the eye, angle-closure glaucoma occurs suddenly. It takes only a few months before we can detect angle-closure glaucoma. A blow, medication or even diabetes can be the cause.
However, it can be challenging to find the exact reason.
The three causes of glaucoma
The causes are difficult to identify, but heredity is one of the risks of glaucoma factors. 30% of glaucomas detected are hereditary. It is, therefore, recommended to closely monitor the health of your eyes if glaucoma runs in your family. It will be easier to monitor the evolution of glaucoma and to adjust treatments. But don't be afraid. It is not systematic that it is present in your genes.
2- Anatomical characteristics
It can happen that after a specific event, the pressure of the eye increases and leads to the development of glaucoma. Trauma to the eye or other vision problems can cause this intraocular pressure. It is also possible that diabetes, cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure are the cause. People with skinny corneas are also at greater risk of developing glaucoma.
3- Taking medication
Over time, people who have to take corticosteroids on a long-term basis can develop glaucoma. Whether taken topically, inhaled, orally, intravenously or particularly, these medications can raise the pressure in the eye. In addition, medicines like prednisone or cortisone can also affect your eye pressure. If you are treating a medical condition with such medications, telling your eye care professional will allow them to guide you and monitor your eyes more closely.
The signs and symptoms of glaucoma are numerous but not always present. Even though, in most cases, glaucoma can be prevented by monitoring eye pressure, some people will experience symptoms without having seen a change in this test.
The most common symptoms are:
- Blurred vision;
- a more dilated pupil;
- seeing halos around the light;
- reddened eyes;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- pain in the eye.
Glaucoma is a preventable disease that cannot be cured. To date, no treatment has been found to restore an optic nerve that has been damaged. However, early detection of glaucoma can be treated early and reduce the damaging effects.
In addition to the change in your vision, eye exams can detect diseases of the eye that, like glaucoma, creep up on you. That's one reason why it's a good idea to see your eye care professional regularly. For people between the ages of 20 and 60, it is recommended to have an eye exam every 1 or 2 years. Our optometrists are available to answer all your questions during an appointment.