Beware of The ‘Sneak Thief of Sight’ – Glaucoma Symptoms & Tips
Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s optic nerve is damaged, which results in loss of vision and blindness. This condition occurs when there is a pressure build-up in a tissue-nourishing fluid in the anterior chamber that leads to damaging of the optic nerve. High blood pressure can be a major risk factor for this.
The most common symptom of glaucoma is gradual loss of peripheral vision. When left untreated, this can lead to complete loss of peripheral vision or total blindness in certain cases. There are various tests to help identify this condition and there is treatment for early-stage glaucoma but there is no cure for lost vision. Hence, early detection is very important. As peripheral vision is lost first, many people don’t notice it till it is too late. Hence, glaucoma is often called “the sneak thief of sight”.
Types of glaucoma and their symptoms
• Primary open-angle glaucoma — gradual loss of peripheral vision, usually in both eyes
• Angle-closure glaucoma — eye pain, nausea and vomiting (with severe eye pain), visual disturbance often in low light, blurred vision or reddening of the eye
A healthy lifestyle with proper eye care is recommended in order to stay safe from eye diseases. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent glaucoma:
- Be aware of your medical history – glaucoma is often hereditary. Also if you have a family history of diabetes or eye diseases, regular eye check-ups are vital.
- Keep your eyes clean – pollution and dust can often cause irritation. Try to keep your eyes clean by washing them regularly. Use medically recommended eye drops.
- Don’t rub your eyes roughly – many of us rub our eyes when we wake up in the morning or before sleeping. But it is better to avoid this. If you think you may have an eye problem, rubbing can cause further damage.
- Protect your eyes – serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Also, use sunglasses when outdoors. Frequent swimmers and sports people should wear protective glasses throughout.
- Avoid stress – since blood pressure can be a major cause, stay away from any kind of stress. Learn to relax and have a calm mind.
- Eat healthy – foods rich in vitamin A are good for eye health. Avoid too much caffeine, tobacco or alcohol.
- Use safe cosmetics – women who use a lot of eye cosmetics should use non-allergic safe brands.
- Sip fluids in moderation – drinking a lot of liquid within a short time may temporarily increase the eye pressure.
Get a regular comprehensive eye check-up done every 3 – 5 years after the age of 40 and every year after the age of 60, if you have a family history of glaucoma.