According to the latest statistics – 3 people out of every 100 elderly people aged 30 to 60 are likely to have this eye disease.
But what is glaucoma?
Just like we have blood pressure. We have something called eye pressure. Glaucoma happens when increased pressure inside the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which connects your eye to your brain.
If the pressure remains high constantly the optic nerve gets damaged leading to vision loss that is irreversible. The optic nerve once damaged cannot be repaired or regenerated.
To make matters worse, the vast majority of patients suffering from this disease are completely unaware of having it. A small percentage of people may experience heaviness or pain but a vast majority of them may never experience any symptoms until they reach the end stage of the disease. By this time the disease is very advanced and the vision loss is permanent. Glaucoma is therefore called the Silent thief of Sight. And rightly so. Because you will be robbed of your good vision, and you won’t even know it.
What can be done?
The only way of catching this thief is by regular eye examination, especially if you’re having any of the above risk factors.
A trained ophthalmologist will check your eye pressure, corneal thickness, optic nerve examination and visual field examination (Perimetry). And diagnose it, if any irregularity is noted.
Glaucoma can definitely be controlled! Most glaucoma patients benefit from putting in just once-a-day eye drops. There are other methods like lasers and surgeries available that help to reduce the pressure within the eye. Any further damage to the optic nerve can thus be prevented. And you can continue leading a normal life.