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Glaucoma, commonly known as “High Eye Pressure”, refers to the optic nerve damage caused by the frequently high intraocular pressure. Due to this disease, the patient’s visual field gradually narrows. Glaucoma, an insidious disease revealing itself only in the final phases of the disease, may cause significant and irreversible optic nerve damage in the event of late diagnosis.
Who does glaucoma affect?
The risk of glaucoma is higher in people with intraocular pressure higher than the normal level. However, this does not mean anybody with a high intraocular pressure will get glaucoma.
The risk of glaucoma is higher in people aged 40 years or more.
Glaucoma may be associated with genes. The risk of development of glaucoma is higher in people who have a family history of glaucoma. In other words, one or more genes may contain defects and people with such genes may become more sensitive to the disease.
The risk of development of glaucoma is higher in patients with diabetes and hypothyroidism (goiter).
Severe eye injuries may cause the intraocular pressure to rise. Other risk factors include retinal detachment, eye tumors and eye inflammation such as chronic uveitis or iritis. Some eye surgeries may also trigger development of secondary glaucoma.
The frequency of glaucoma is increased nearly twice in the presence of myopia, commonly known as near vision problems.
Long-term use of cortisone (orally, in the form of drop or skin ointment, etc.) may cause the development of secondary glaucoma.
It is important that people with such conditions undergo regular eye examinations for the early diagnosis of optic nerve damage.
Causes of Glaucoma
The pressure inside the eye increases when vitreous humor, which is secreted in the eye and necessary to supply the eye, cannot be discharged. Increased intraocular pressure damages the optic nerve cells.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
• Headache that becomes marked in the mornings
• Hazy vision from time to time
• Appearance of halos around lights at night
• Pain around the eyes while watching TV
What are the factors increasing the risk of glaucoma?
• Familial history of glaucoma (genetic predisposition)
• More than 40 years of age
• Severe anemia or shock
• High-low systemic blood pressure
• High myopia
• High hyperopia
• Long-term cortisone treatment
• Eye injuries
• Ethnic factors
Since people meeting these criteria are at higher risk of developing glaucoma, they should have regular eye examinations for the early diagnosis of optic nerve damage.