Prevention of Blindness Week (1 to 7 April) – Can Glaucoma Make You Blind?

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As per data by the World Health Organisation, as many as 45 lakh people worldwide are blind caused by glaucoma. On Prevention of Blindness week starting from 1 to 7 April, let’s take a look at the details of this disease.

The human eyes continuously keep working all the time since you wake up till the time you go to bed at night.  The eyes see the things in front of it and get information like colour, movements, shapes etc., and send it to the brain to form an image. However, people with glaucoma face interruption in this information transmission because of the damage caused to the optic nerve, which results in loss of vision. Glaucoma is a serious condition that has caused over 45-lakh people worldwide to suffer blindness. Out of the 5-lakh, India accounts for over 12 lakh of such glaucoma cases causing blindness among people in the country.

The Government of India every year observes a week-long program on ‘Prevention of Blindness’ from 1st – 7th April to increase awareness against the disease and to find ways to prevent them. In this post, we are discussing glaucoma and to prevent complete vision loss caused by the disease.

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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that causes blindness. Under glaucoma the nerve connecting the eye to the brain gets damaged due to high eye pressure. So, glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for communicating visual information to the brain from your eyes.  This is caused mainly when the eyes get peculiarly high pressure inside it. Over a long period of time the augmented pressure on eyes damages the optic nerve, which causes gradual vision loss. If not treated properly, it might even cause blindness.

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What are the Causes of Glaucoma?

The exact causes of glaucoma couldn’t be found yet and scientists are still trying to figure it out. However, it is said that too much intraocular pressure or pressure within the eye is the reason for the damage of optic nerve.

Ciliary body is the part of the middle layer of the wall of the human eye. This organ supports eye lens and releases Aqueous humor, a clear fluid to keep your eyes inflated. The clear fluid of Aqueous humor fills the front eye portion and leaves through a mesh-like tissue that is placed between the cornea and iris.

So, if the tissue doesn’t function properly, the fluid gets accumulated inside the eye. This results in enhanced intraocular eye pressure. A rise in the intraocular eye pressure for long can cause damage of the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of vision.

What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma? 

The various symptoms of glaucoma that an individual may experience depends on the type of glaucoma. Here are some symptoms mentioned below

Open-angle Glaucoma 

The open-angle glaucoma is a condition wherein most patients do not even experience any specific symptoms in the initial stages. The condition becomes evident only when the damage becomes severe. With the progress in the disease patients experience blind spots in side vision and tunnel vision.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

The acute angle glaucoma, on the other hand, is a condition that is regarded as an emergency condition since it doesn’t show any symptoms unless the condition attacks. The symptoms include strong eye pain, redness of eye. dilated pupils, extreme headache, nausea, vomiting etc.

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Who is at Risk of Glaucoma?

People who are at risk of glaucoma are the ones who are above 60 years old, the diabetic patients, patients of heart disease, people with sickle cell anaemia and high blood pressure. Also, people with family history of glaucoma are at risk too. Those who have chronic eye inflammation, thin cornea, injury in the eyes or those who have been using steroids for a prolonged duration are all under risk.

How Is Glaucoma Detected? 

To detect Glaucoma, you need to go through a detailed eye examination by an ophthalmologist. Here are some tests that help to determine the condition:

Can Glaucoma Be Cured? 

At present, no complete cure is available for glaucoma. The damage that the condition causes is difficult to reverse. But with immediate treatment, it is possible to delay or prevent any loss of vision.

The treatment of the condition aims at reducing the intraocular pressure of your eyes. Below are some factors depending on which the treatment can be done.

  • Eye drops – By using certain medications, one can lower the eye pressure as it improves the release or decrease of production of aqueous humor from the eyes.
  • Oral medication – Oral medicines like carbonic anhydrase inhibitor or beta-blocker are some medications that might be prescribed to improve the release or drainage of aqueous humor and limit its production.
  • Laser treatment – This is another treatment wherein the doctor makes use of a tiny laser beam to open the channels that are clogged in the trabecular meshwork to improve fluid drainage, which in turn lowers eye pressure.
  • Surgery – An invasive surgery procedure is a treatment in which a surgeon creates a new channel to release the aqueous humor to reduce the eye pressure. In this process, a tube is implanted to help in draining out the fluid.

How to Prevent Glaucoma?

It is not possible to totally prevent glaucoma. But there are various self-care measures which can help in slowing down the condition to enhance. Thus, it prevents complete loss of vision.

  • Frequent eye care exams – With eye care examination on a regular basis, you can help in detecting the condition timely and preventing further vision loss.
  • Exercise – Also, regular exercise on a moderate level is important to reduce the risk of the disease by reducing eye pressure.
  • Protect your eyes – Moreover, severe eye injury of any type can also increase glaucoma risk. So, it is important to use eyewear to protect eyes while playing a dangerous sport etc.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Eating a diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fats is also good to improve eye health.

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To Sum Up

Vision loss is a disturbing situation and hence it is important to keep eyes safe. Hence, events like National Blind Day or “Prevention of blindness week” are organized to educate people about the disease and to encourage people for eye donation to lighten up the lives of people in the world of Blind.

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FAQs: Prevention of Blindness Week (1 to 7 April) - Can Glaucoma Make You Blind?

Can going blind from glaucoma be prevented?

Treatment for glaucoma cannot restore vision if it has already been lost, it can preserve remaining sight.

How many blind people in the world are caused by glaucoma?

Around 45 lakh people worldwide are blind caused by glaucoma.

When is World Blind Day celebrated?

World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October.

What is an interesting fact about Blindness?

90% of visually impaired people live in low- and middle-income countries.

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Mar 29, 2023
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