Glaucoma: A complete guide to symptoms, prevention and treatment Glaucoma: A complete guide to symptoms, prevention and treatment

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65. It’s usually the result of increased pressure in your eyes but can occur even when pressure levels are normal.

Glaucoma is a progressive, degenerative disease of the optic nerve, a part of your body that is essentially an extension of the brain. It connects the eye to the brain and is responsible for visual signals to be interpreted by the brain. Also like the brain, any damage is permanent because the optic nerve can’t regenerate.

There are over a million fibres within the optic nerve and if they become damaged, vision loss can occur. It is usually the fibres that are associated with peripheral vision that are affected first by glaucoma. If you’re over the age of 50. The earlier glaucoma is detected, the better your chances are of slowing down the diseases progression and retaining your vision.

Types and Symptoms of Glaucoma

The symptoms of glaucoma will depend on the type and stage of your condition. There are several different types of glaucoma, but the most common form is open angle glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma takes several years to develop and is caused by the drainage channels in the eyes becoming clogged. This results in a slow increase in pressure over time.

Symptoms of open angle glaucoma are:

  • Gradual blind spots or patches in the peripheral vision
  • Later stages will see this spread to the central vision

Other types of glaucoma are:

Acute angle closure glaucoma, a rarer form that’s caused by drainage in the eye becoming blocked, which causes the iris to bulge. Fluid is unable to circulate properly throughout the eye and the pressure starts to increase. Symptoms include:

  • Severe eye pain
  • Severe eye pain
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eyes

Normal tension glaucoma, a type of glaucoma that happens when the pressure in the eye is normal. It may be a result of a build up of fat in the arteries or due to less blood flow to the optic nerve. Symptoms include: 

  • Gradual blurry vision
  • Loss of peripheral vision 

Childhood glaucoma, an uncommon type that happens in very young children who have a certain abnormality in their eye/eyes. They can be born with it or develop it in the first few years of their life. Symptoms include: 

  • Cloudy, dull eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Near-sightedness 

Causes of Glaucoma 

Glaucoma has a genetic component to it and tends to run in families. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults, especially those 60 or older. There may be no initial warning signs because the condition is gradual, with noticeable symptoms occurring in later stages. 

Most cases of glaucoma are caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye when fluid is unable to drain properly. This pressure increase is what leads to damage in the optic nerve. What causes this drainage and pressure problem to happen in some people and not in others isn’t fully known, but there are factors aside from genetics that can make a person more likely to experience glaucoma. 

Risk factors include

Prevention of Glaucoma

There isn’t a way to prevent glaucoma, but early detection will help slow down its progression and its overall severity. Glaucoma can be easily diagnosed with an eye examination by an optician or ophthalmologist. 

During your exam, your vision will be measured along with your eye pressure. A dilated eye examination will also be carried out to evaluate the health of your optic nerve. If any of these tests result in abnormal results, further tests may need to be done to provide a definitive diagnosis. 

The most important test is the eye pressure check. This is carried out with a probe called a tonometer. Tonometer’s may gently touch the surface of the eye or a non-contact tonometer that blows a puff of air on the eye to read its internal pressure. 

Since glaucoma is a chronic and progressive disease, there is no cure and any damage that’s already occurred can’t be reversed. You will need on going treatment and testing to manage the condition. This will include medications, regular eye exams, and, in some cases, surgical intervention. 

Medications for Glaucoma 

At first, you’ll most likely be prescribed less invasive medical treatments like eye drops and oral tablets. If the glaucoma is particularly severe or progresses to an advanced stage, surgery may be needed to improve drainage and lower pressure. 

Glaucoma treatment usually starts with prescription eye drops that are designed to decrease eye pressure by improving how fluid drains from your eye. Two of the most common types of prescription eye drops for glaucoma are: 

  • Prostaglandin eye drops that are used once a day to help reduce eye pressure.
  • Beta blocker eye drops that are used once or twice a day to reduce the production of fluid in the eye, lowering eye pressure.

If you have glaucoma, you can get beta blocker eye drops like Betopic to treat your condition from Pharmacy Planet. The active ingredient of Betopic, betaxolol, works by reducing the pressure inside the eye and is indicated for the treatment of chronic open angle glaucoma, intraocular pressure, and ocular hypertension. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other prescription glaucoma treatments.

To use it, you’ll first need to wash your hands. Then shake the bottle well before holding it upside down. Tilt your head back and gently tease apart the eyelid from your eye with a finger. Use a mirror if needed. Without touching the eye, eyelid, or any other surfaces with the dropper, lightly squeeze the base of the bottle to allow one drop to come out. Press the edge of the corner of your eye to keep the medication in the eye. Repeat in the other eye if needed.

Stop the progression of the symptoms of glaucoma and buy prescription eye drops like Betopic eye drops. To get your medications for glaucoma online, simply fill in a short assessment for our prescribers to review. Once approved, we’ll have your medications shipped quickly and safely to your doorstep. Getting your prescription medications couldn’t be easier than with Pharmacy Planet!