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Why Glaucoma Being Called The Silent Thief?

By Fnf correspondent | PUBLISHED: 05, May 2024, 17:59 pm IST | UPDATED: 05, May 2024, 17:59 pm IST

Why Glaucoma Being Called The Silent Thief? New Delhi: Glaucoma is often referred to as the "silent thief of sight" because it typically progresses slowly and without noticeable symptoms until significant vision loss occurs. As one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide, early detection and treatment are crucial for preserving vision and preventing vision impairment. Recognizing the symptoms of glaucoma is essential for prompt diagnosis and intervention. Here are some key signs and symptoms shared by Dr. Anjal Shah, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Cataract & Refractive Surgeon and Dr. Sachdev Maxivision Eye Hospital, Surat to watch for:

Glaucoma typically affects peripheral vision initially, gradually narrowing the field of vision over time. Individuals may notice difficulty seeing objects or people to the side without turning their heads. This loss of peripheral vision is often subtle and may go unnoticed until it progresses to more advanced stages.

As glaucoma advances, individuals may experience blurred or hazy vision, particularly in low-light conditions or at night. Objects may appear less distinct, and visual clarity may diminish gradually. Blurred vision may be intermittent or persistent, depending on the severity of glaucoma and other contributing factors.

Some people with glaucoma report seeing halos or rainbow-colored rings around lights, especially at night. This phenomenon occurs due to increased pressure within the eye, which can distort the way light enters the eye and cause visual disturbances. Halos around lights may indicate elevated intraocular pressure, a common characteristic of glaucoma.

In some cases, glaucoma can cause eye pain, redness, or discomfort, particularly during sudden increases in intraocular pressure known as acute angle-closure glaucoma. This type of glaucoma requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss. However, many individuals with glaucoma do not experience noticeable eye pain, making regular eye exams essential for early detection.

Glaucoma-related headaches or brow pain may occur due to increased pressure within the eye or as a result of optic nerve damage. These symptoms are often described as dull, aching pain around the eyes or temples and may be accompanied by other visual disturbances such as blurred vision or halos.

 

In addition to the risk factors mentioned, it's important to note that individuals with high plus numbers (hypermetropia) or high minus numbers (myopia) are also susceptible to developing glaucoma. This underscores the importance of regular eye examinations for individuals with refractive errors, as they may be at increased risk of glaucoma despite not exhibiting traditional symptoms. 

Recognizing these signs and symptoms of glaucoma is critical for early detection and intervention. However, it's important to note that many people with glaucoma may not experience any symptoms until the disease has progressed significantly. Therefore, routine comprehensive eye exams are essential for individuals at risk of glaucoma, including those with a family history of the disease, individuals over the age of 40, and those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Early diagnosis and treatment can help preserve vision and prevent irreversible vision loss caused by glaucoma, making regular eye exams a crucial aspect of maintaining eye health and overall well-being.

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