Glaucoma: what it is, causes, warning symptoms and therapy

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve and which, if not taken promptly and treated, can even lead to blindness. Let's find out what it is, the causes, symptoms and how to prevent or treat it.

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Il glaucoma it is a pathology that affects the optic nerve and which, if not taken promptly and treated, can even lead to blindness. Let's find out what it is, the causes, symptoms and how to prevent or treat it.


Glaucoma, what is it

The term glaucoma refers to an eye disease associated with increased intraocular pressure, very widespread in the world and the second cause of irreversible blindness. In fact, if not taken in time, this pathology that affects the optic nerve can lead to serious consequences such as low vision and total loss of vision.

Types of glaucoma

There are several types of glaucoma:

  • Chronic open angle glaucoma: it is the most frequent type that covers about 80% of cases. The situation develops in a slow and generally asymptomatic way, so it is often not noticed if not when the optic nerve is now compromised. We therefore understand how important it is to keep it under control by periodically carrying out eye examinations.
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma: it affects about 10% of people with glaucoma with a 70% incidence in women. It is caused by a sudden increase in blood pressure and is very serious and must be treated quickly to avoid blindness.
  • Congenital glaucoma: it is a form of pathology that occurs from birth. The increase in intraocular pressure and the drainage system are defective and the affected child suffers from photophobia and excessive tearing. Fortunately, it is a very rare condition that affects one in 10 newborns.
  • Secondary glaucoma: it is a pathology due to the presence of other ongoing diseases such as diabetes, tumors or bleeding. It can also appear after taking some medications.

Glaucoma, cause

Glaucoma is caused by an obstacle in the outflow of aqueous humor, a liquid present in the eye which, if it does not flow at its best, accumulates and causes the intraocular pressure to increase. The consequence of this is a compression or crushing of the optic nerve whose fibers plan to degrade.

The optic nerve is of fundamental importance for vision as it allows the electrical connections that allow information captured by the eye to reach the brain. If there is a compression, over time there will also be an alteration of the visual field that will tend to shrink more and more (here is the risk of blindness if you do not intervene promptly).

There are also glaucoma risk factors. In particular:

  • Be over 40 years old
  • Having other cases in the family
  • Suffering from cataracts
  • Suffering from severe hyperopia
  • Ocular trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Ipertensione
  • Prolonged use of some medications

Glaucoma, symptoms and prevention

Glaucoma is a disease defined as silent as it is often asymptomatic in its early stages. Most people who don't get screened every year don't notice they have it and by the time symptoms do appear it is unfortunately often late to get the best treatment results.

The main symptoms of glaucoma, some more specific and recognizable others more general, include:

  • Blurred vision
  • View with halos
  • Very severe eye pain
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Photophobia
  • Narrowing of the visual field
  • Reduced vision
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Threw up

The prevention of glaucoma is a very important weapon that we have at our disposal to keep away this disease that is not always noticed in time. In this sense it is very important to undergo check-ups which, for example, are carried out free of charge during the "World Glaucoma Week" in March.

Glaucoma, diagnosis and therapy

Glaucoma is a disease that, if diagnosed early, can be kept under control. It is therefore important to carry out an early diagnosis by periodically undergoing eye examinations which include the control of some parameters:

  • Eye pressure
  • Appearance of the optic nerve
  • Visual field analysis
  • Evaluation of the optic disc

As for the therapy, this generally uses specific eye drops and must be followed consistently for the time indicated by the doctor. In the most serious cases, when the drops have not been able to stem the high pressure in the eye, surgical intervention is necessary to safeguard the remaining visual function as much as possible.

In most cases it is possible to stem the advance of the disease, with all the risks that this entails, thanks to medical treatments and checking every 6 months that the disease does not evolve.

Glaucoma and nutrition

An interesting research a few years ago wanted to analyze the relationship between glaucoma and nutrition, evaluating if there is a right diet that can help in the preventive phase but also to alleviate the symptoms.

So what are the recommended foods? The Spanish experts who carried out the study put fruit, vegetables and chocolate first, but also drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine, all rich in antioxidants beneficial for the health of the retina.

Experts suggest choosing foods that are not only antioxidants but also contain retinol, vitamin B1 and Omega 3.

On the well-being of the eyes, you may also be interested in:

  • Conjunctivitis: 10 natural remedies
  • Maculopathy: what it is, symptoms and treatments
  • Chalazion: causes, cures and remedies for adults and children

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