What are the Contributing Factors that Worsen the Condition of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged. It can lead to progressive vision loss. The optic nerve carries visual signals from the front of the eye to the brain. If left untreated, primary open-angle glaucoma can cause the loss of these nerve fibres.

Gary Rodney, the Founder of Smart Vision Optometry and a leading Smart Vision Optometrist at Eyes InDesign Mosman, provides insight of contributing factors that worsen the condition of glaucoma in people of all ages.

Glaucoma can be controlled with a series of medication or surgery. If it is diagnosed early, it can usually be managed. Primary open-angle glaucoma usually doesn’t show symptoms until it has progressed to central vision loss. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a less common type of glaucoma. It occurs suddenly and can cause severe pain, nausea, and blurred vision.

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Although it can’t be predicted who will develop it, most people with high eye pressure will eventually develop glaucoma. “It occurs when the pressure inside the eye is too high for a certain nerve,” says Rodney.

A family history of glaucoma can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. Also, being born with a damaged eye can increase a person’s chances of suffering from chronic eye inflammation.

The “cause of glaucoma is usually linked to an increase in fluid pressure in the eye, or is caused by a lack of oxygen to the nerve,” says Rodney.

There are different types of glaucoma that have different potential causes. Primary open-angle glaucoma is a slow and painless damage to the optic nerve is the most common type of glaucoma. Those with this condition can lose a significant portion of their vision before they realise their issues. Angle-closure glaucoma is a less common type of eye disease that can cause vision loss in just one day of its onset. It usually appears when the drainage angle in the eyes gets blocked.

As the size of the eye’s lens gets larger, the space between the cornea and the iris widens, and the fluid that collects in the eye can then be blocked. This causes the eye pressure to increase.

An acute form of eye disease occurs when the iris completely obscures the fluid drainage. An acute attack occurs when the drainage of the eye completely blocks. It can happen even if the person has no drainage angle.

“People over age 60 are at an increased risk of suffering from glaucoma”, say Rodney. Age is a common factor that increases the risk of developing glaucoma.

Having a family history of glaucoma is associated with a higher risk of developing the condition. Certain conditions can also increase the risk of developing the disease. “Physical injuries to the eye can increase pressure in the eye,” says Rodney. By keeping your eye pressure under control, your optometrist can help prevent further damage to the optic nerve. A reduction in eye pressure that is at least as likely to cause further damage is known as the target pressure.

“Other eye-related risks include having a thinner cornea and optic nerve sensitivity,” says Rodney, “further, being near-sighted is known to increase the risk of developing glaucoma.”

There is no cure for glaucoma. As the condition worsens, patients need to continue taking their medication and undergoing eye examinations. “Getting diagnosed early and treating it properly can help prevent vision loss and minimise the risk of suffering from it,” says Rodney. Having regular monitoring and treating glaucoma can also help control it.

Smart Vision Optometry clinics are located in Sydney. Book a Smart Vision Comprehensive Vision Skills Assessment or Advanced Eye Health Test for any child or adult by calling the Mosman clinic (02) 9969 1600 or the Bondi clinic (02) 9365 5047, alternatively book an appointment online.


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