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Glaucoma And Disease Management

Glaucoma & Disease Management

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease causing damage to the optic nerve and resulting in permanent vision loss. Although there are many types of glaucoma, the most common is primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). In POAG, the cause of this optic nerve damage is an abnormally high eye pressure, known as the intraocular pressure.

Glaucoma is More common as we get older, and the condition is also known to be hereditary, running in families across multiple generations. It can also be caused by prior eye damage or injury, severe infection, inflammatory diseases, and blood vessel blockages.

Glaucoma is a painless condition, and you can begin to develop glaucoma without warning. Symptoms may not arise until there has been significant optic nerve damage. Usually, both eyes are affected simultaneously. However, it’s not entirely uncommon for the condition to present itself with more severity in one eye than in the other.

To help safeguard against the risk of developing  glaucoma, it’s crucial that you maintain regular comprehensive eye exams. This is especially true if you have a family history of the  disease. By scheduling check-ups at appropriate intervals, an optometrist establish a baseline of your optic nerve health, and monitor annually, in order to diagnose the condition earlier, and start treatment before any vision loss occurs.

Conjunctivitis

Better known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is caused by inflammation or irritation affecting the thin clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye, the conjunctiva. Occasionally, , this inflammation or irritation can be the result of simple allergies.

 However, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are much more common. Certain strains of viral pink eye are highly contagious and can spread quickly and easily between two otherwise healthy people. If you become infected, primary symptoms are likely to include itching, irritation,  and redness. As a result of this irritation  and redness, your eyes may develop a pink tinge – hence the condition’s common name.

Mild cases often clear up on their own, although it is important to see an eye doctor, in order to get an accurate diagnosis. . If your allergies are to blame, this can be as simple as taking an antihistamine medication. Meanwhile, various options exist to help tackle viral cases and their symptoms, while bacterial conjunctivitis can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Cataracts

In Canada alone, cataracts affect an estimated 2.5 million people. What’s more, this number is rising,  as cataracts are now the most common cause of blindness nationwide. The condition presents as a clouding of the lens of the eye as a result of ageing, an injury to the eye, or developing as a symptom of one or more other health problems, such as diabetes or an inherited genetic disorder.

Many people live with this clouding and the resulting blurriness that it causes to their vision, particularly as they age. Over time, this can lead to more pronounced vision loss and, if left untreated, a complete lack of sight. Thankfully, cataracts can be remedied with surgery.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, and  involves replacing your eye’s cloudy lens with an artificial new one. Decades of advances within cataract surgery mean that this is now considered to be an extremely safe procedure, often taking no more than 20 minutes!

Amblyopia

With a variety of causes—including poor alignment of a person’s eyes, known as strabismus—amblyopia has long been referred to by many as lazy eye. It can also stem from a large difference in refractive error between the two eyes, where one of your eyes is better able to focus than the other.

The condition is most commonly seenin young children and can ultimately result in reduced vision and depth perception. If your child is diagnosed with amblyopia, treatment can be as straightforward as fitting them with an eyepatch. A so-called lazy eye can also be addressed with glasses. Children born prematurely are more likely to develop amblyopia than those who were carried to full term. The condition may also be inherited or appear as a symptom of a developmental disability in some cases.

It’s always best to tackle amblyopia before a child’s eyes have fully developed – certainly before the age of 10 years old and ideally before their seventh birthday. Because of its easily identified and treatable nature, as few as one percent of patients go on to struggle with the condition in later life.

Diabetic Eye Disease

As its name suggests, diabetic eye disease is a symptom of diabetes. It loosely refers to a group of conditions routinely seen among sufferers, including diabetic retinopathy and more general eye problems such as diabetic macular edema. Patients diagnosed with diabetic eye disease may also suffer from cataracts and glaucoma.

If you have diabetes, managing your blood sugar is often the best way to help prevent the onset of diabetic eye disease. Careful maintenance of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels remain among the most effective ways of safeguarding against the development of diabetic eye disease. .

Of course, for all people with diabetes, regular eye exams carried out by an optometrist are crucial. Such check-ups are vital to protect against a plethora of eye-related conditions common among those who struggle with chronic excessive blood glucose levels, including diabetic eye disease.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration causes blurred, distorted, or missing spots in your central vision. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula of the eye – the part of the retina responsible for your fine central vision – swells, leading to distortion and photoreceptor death. 

There are two main types of macular degeneration, dry type and wet type. Dry type accounts for 90% of the cases of macular degeneration. Wet type occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow in the macular area. Wet macular degeneration accounts for only 10% of cases, but accounts for over 90% of legal blindness due to the disease. 

Risk factors for macular degeneration include age, family history, ethnicity, smoking, obesity and poor cardiovascular health. A diet rich in dark leafy greens, yellow and orange vegetables, and antioxidants helps to protect the macula and prevent degeneration. Also, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping up with cardiovascular activity, and not smoking is beneficial for macular health as well as overall health!

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