Glaucoma: the disease without trace and without symptoms

One of the main problems of glaucoma is that it shows no signs or symptoms at the beginning of the disease, it progresses slowly, and when the patient goes to the ophthalmologist the damage is usually significant and irreversible, which complicates its treatment.

Thus, it is highly recommended that people over a certain age understand that they should periodically visit the ophthalmologist to check and assess the condition of their eyes.

What causes glaucoma?

The main causes of glaucoma include the genetic component, aging…

As the years go by, tissues age and function worse, this also affects the eyeball and the outflow system of the acoustical humor, making its drainage more difficult and increasing eye pressure, the main risk factor for the development of glaucoma.

In turn, it is a disease that anyone can develop as age increases, although people with a family history of glaucoma, as well as myopia or diabetes may have a higher risk of developing it.

Therefore, early detection is most important, as it is a disease that can be controlled if diagnosed early. Visits and check-ups are the best treatment to prevent the onset of glaucoma.

Types of glaucoma

There is not only one type of glaucoma, in fact, there is the so-called acute glaucoma, in which the anatomy of the eye varies according to age and in certain situations a closure of the aqueous humor drainage pathway may occur, suddenly increasing eye pressure and decreasing vision. It is usually associated with a severe and intense headache. Acute angle-closure glaucoma involves a high risk of visual loss.

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The most common glaucoma, the so-called chronic open-angle glaucoma, is slower in its progression and is asymptomatic, so its presence may go completely unnoticed if the patient does not see a specialist.

Diagnosis of glaucoma

In an initial phase it is difficult to establish a diagnosis, since there are no symptoms. Even for the ophthalmologist it is difficult, since the ocular pressure may not be very high.

The specialist may need more than one visit to be able to make a diagnosis and establish whether or not to treat it and what type of treatment.

As glaucoma progresses, detection becomes easier.

Instituting treatment will control the disease and its progression, thus avoiding visual complications.

Glaucoma treatments

At present, glaucoma has no treatment that cures it. Comparatively speaking it is like aging, today there is no cure.

The treatment currently available is aimed at reducing ocular pressure, slowing down the progression of the disease as much as possible. In fact, the objective of the specialists is for the patient to maintain a visual quality throughout his life that allows him to lead a normal life.

The first line of treatment would be treatment with eye drops, although it is difficult for people to accept that they must be treated forever because of their disease. At the same time, this is a handicap for the ophthalmologist, since one of the main causes of disease progression is poor compliance with treatment.

It is important to understand that ocular pressure is controlled by the eye drops while the patient is using the drops; when the treatment is stopped, ocular pressure rises again.

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A second line of treatment would include laser treatment, as there are some that can help control glaucoma. In cases where eye drops and laser treatment is not sufficient, there is the surgical option.