Warning Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Glaucoma can be of different types, and it is essential to understand the risk factors, the role of early detection, and management to prevent blindness.

Glaucoma: Warning Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
Glaucoma: Warning Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment (Source: freepik)

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the eyes and can lead to blindness if left untreated. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, and is often associated with increased eye pressure. The condition is prevalent in India, with an estimated 12 million people affected by the same. The high incidence is attributed to the aging population, genetic predisposition, and other risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. However, the disease is often undetected and untreated due to low awareness and inadequate access to healthcare in many parts of the country.

Glaucoma can be of different types, and it is essential to understand the risk factors, the role of early detection, and management to prevent blindness.

Types of Glaucoma:

There are four major types of glaucoma:

1. Open-angle glaucoma: It is the most common type, where the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged over time, causing increased pressure in the eye. This increased pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.

2. Closed-angle glaucoma: It is less common but more severe. In this type, the drainage system of the eye gets blocked suddenly, causing a sudden increase in eye pressure. This sudden increase in pressure can cause severe pain, nausea, and vision loss. This can cause an emergency and requires immediate treatment.

3. Secondary Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is caused by another underlying condition or medication that affects the drainage of fluid in the eye. Examples include uveitis, trauma, or long-term use of corticosteroids.

4. Congenital Glaucoma: This is a rare form of glaucoma that is present at birth or develops in the first few years of life. It is caused by abnormal development of the eye’s drainage canals and can cause symptoms such as cloudiness in the cornea, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing.

Risk Factors:

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing glaucoma which includes age (people over 60 years of age are at higher risk for developing the disease), family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a history of eye injuries. Additionally, people with near-sightedness or far-sightedness are also at higher risk for developing glaucoma.

Role of Early Detection:

Early detection of glaucoma is crucial to prevent blindness. Unfortunately, glaucoma is often asymptomatic in the early stages, making it challenging to detect. Therefore, regular eye check-ups are crucial for people with any of these risk factors to detect and manage glaucoma early.

Eye doctors check the eye pressure, examine the optic nerve, and perform visual field tests to detect glaucoma. Early detection of glaucoma provides an opportunity for early treatment, which can prevent or delay vision loss.


The treatment options for glaucoma depend on the severity of the disease. In the early stages, eye drops can be prescribed to lower eye pressure. Laser therapy is another option, which helps to open up the blocked drainage system in the eye. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to create a new drainage system for the eye. It is essential to follow the treatment plan prescribed by the eye doctor to prevent further damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.
Along with the prescribed treatment plan, lifestyle changes can also help manage the disease such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing blood pressure and diabetes.

It is essential to take care of the eyes and follow simple tips to prevent the progression of glaucoma. It is also advised to protect the eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear while playing sports or doing activities that could cause eye injuries, avoiding smoking, and manage stress as both can increase eye pressure and damage the optic nerve.

Glaucoma is a severe eye disease that can cause blindness if left untreated. It is essential to understand the risk factors, types of glaucoma, and the role of early detection to manage the disease effectively. Regular eye check-ups are crucial, especially for people with risk factors for developing the disease.

(Inputs: Dr. Sudipto Pakrasi, Chairman, Ophthalmology, Medanta, Gurugram)

Published Date: March 14, 2023 7:20 PM IST

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