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The Silent Thief of Sight Glaucoma – a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve of the eye – is one of the most common causes of blindness across the world and is often called as the silent thief of sight. Glaucoma, in the early stages, may not have noticeable symptoms. Hence, many people do not even know that they have the disease unless they go for a periodic examination. It is noteworthy that due to the silent progression of the disease – at least in its early stages – up to 50% of the affected people in developed countries are not even aware of having glaucoma.
There is no cure for Glaucoma as yet and the vision loss is irreversible. However, medications or surgery slowdown further loss of vision. Therefore, early detection is essential to limit visual impairment and prevent progression towards severe visual handicap or blindness.
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that causes damage to optic nerve, which results in blindness. The optic nerve connects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. But unfortunately, half of the people with this condition do not know that they have it. It has no symptoms at first. But over the years, it can steal your sight. With early detection and prompt treatment, you can, to a certain extent, protect your eyes against serious vision loss and blindness.
At first, open – angle Glaucoma has no symptoms. Vision remains normal and there is no pain. Although people with glaucoma can notice clearly the things in front of them, they miss the objects to the side and out of the corner of their eyes. It looks as if they are looking through a tunnel.
If glaucoma remains untreated, over time, the remaining central vision may decrease until there is no vision left.
Regular eye examinations by your Ophthalmologist are the best way to detect Glaucoma. Your ophthalmologist will measure your eye pressure, inspect the drainage angle of your eye, evaluate your optic nerve and test the visual field of each eye.
Treatment can often bring glaucoma under control. This makes early diagnosis and treatment important to protect your sight. You will need to use the drops and pills as long as they help control your eye pressure. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important because glaucoma often has no symptoms and hence people may be tempted to stop or may forget to take their medications.
Once diagnosed with glaucoma, medications must be taken as per doctor’s instructions and the pressure, as well as visual field, should be monitored closely. Even if the pressure has been adequately controlled, eye pressure management and visual field test gave to be repeated, once in six months. With proper treatment, further vision loss can be prevented.
The visual field is the entire area one can see with the eyes including central and peripheral vision. A visual field test can detect the problems with vision, in any part of the visual field. The test provides a map of vision loss, which will be helpful in diagnosing the cause of the loss. A subtle change in visual field is one of the earliest manifestations that surface with glaucoma. Thus by checking the visual field, doctors may be able to diagnose glaucoma early, before much damage occurs to the optic nerve.
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