The human eye is a very complex organ and as with most of the body, can deteriorate with age. Most people will lose some of their visual acuity with advancing years and may simply need to invest in reading glasses, but others may develop a more serious condition. If you are getting older and want to keep on top of your eye health, what do you need to know about the risk of glaucoma?
Some experts call glaucoma 'the thief of sight'. This is an apt name as the condition can develop gradually and without any warning signs.
In the worst-case scenario, you may not know that you have the condition until it is too late to do much about it. Although there is no known cure as such, an optometrist can recommend certain treatments that could definitely slow things down and manage the condition successfully.
Optic Nerve Damage
Glaucoma affects the optic nerve that connects the back of the eye to the brain. Some of the fibres that make up the nerve can begin to die off, and it's thought that this is due to an elevated amount of pressure within the eye. Sometimes this can be caused by too much fluid within the eye or poor drainage at the side. It's important to maintain the right amount of fluid and the correct pressure within the eye, though, so that the shape and functionality are protected.
As previously mentioned, glaucoma has no symptoms as such. It is important, therefore, for older people to schedule a regular visit to their optometrists for a checkup. The doctor will look through special tools to inspect the optic nerve and will also check the pressure within the eye. If everything is normal, you can carry on until the next visit, but if glaucoma is subsequently discovered, you may need further treatment.
While minor eye surgery using lasers can help with drainage, treatment will normally involve eye drops. This will help to reduce the amount of fluid being produced within the eye.
It's very important to identify the presence of glaucoma, as early as possible, and it can accumulate slowly with time. While it could lead to total sight loss in the worst scenario, it can certainly be managed quite well if discovered early.
Schedule a visit to your optometrist for a catch-up consultation so you can put your mind at rest.