A perfect place for people concerned about their Health and Fitness. You will get tips about making yourself Healthier, Weight Loss, Physical Fitness, Exercising and Aerobics. You will come to know about Nutricious Food and Fitness programs to keep you in perfect shape.

ImageGlaucoma affects the optic nerve and gradually steals sight without giving any early symptoms. It occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. Glaucoma is a type of optic neuropathy. One of the significant risk factors is raised intraocular pressure. In some cases, the optic nerve damage may occur at a relatively low pressure, whereas in other cases, a person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage. Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve, resulting in visual field loss, gradually progressing to blindness.

There are two main types of glaucoma:

Open angle glaucoma:
It is also known as chronic glaucoma. Most of the time, it progresses very slowly and the patient may not notice the loss of vision until the disease has advanced significantly.

Closed angle glaucoma:
It is the most common type, where the loss of vision in the patient progresses quickly, causing discomfort.

Who are at risk?
Glaucoma is observed more commonly in people above the age of 60.

Primary open angle glaucoma is hereditary.

A study links use of steroids.

Injury to the eye may cause secondary open angle glaucoma.

People suffering from high myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes, hypertension and central corneal thickness less than 5 mm.

The bitter reality is that glaucoma cannot be prevented. However, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better it is for the patient. Early detection is possible, provided you are aware of the disease and undergo regular eye examination. After the age of 40, one must do an eye check-up every two to four years. One must do a yearly check-up if one falls in any one/more of the following categories: 65 years of age or older, have a family history of glaucoma, black or Asian ancestry, have diabetes or a chronic inflammatory disease, have had previous serious eye injury, taking steroids.

Diagnosis at an early stage is possible only through a routine eye check-up. However, certain types of glaucoma do cause specific symptoms. A patient with angle closure glaucoma can have pain in or around the eye ball, headache, nausea / vomiting and visual disturbances.

Treatment for glaucoma in most cases is medication to control the eye pressure. Sometimes, several medications that complement each other are necessary to reduce the pressure adequately. In case the medication fails to lower the pressure as desired and the condition worsens, surgery is indicated. There are several types of procedures, some involve laser, others must be performed in the operating room. The objective of any operation is to allow the fluid to drain from the eye more efficiently.

(Inputs by Dr Barun K Nayak, head, ophthalmology, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai)