Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer
Glaucoma happens when the pressure of the liquid in the eye
gets too high and causes damage. Glaucoma tends to run in
families and is one of the most common major eye disorders in
people over the age of 60. In fact, the risk of getting glaucoma
increases with age, but it can also be triggered or aggravated by
some medicines like antihistamines and antispasmodics.
There are two types of glaucoma:
Chronic or open-angle glaucoma. This type takes place gradually and usually causes no
pain and no symptoms early on. When signs and symptoms begin, they include:
Loss of side (peripheral) vision
In the late stages, symptoms include:
Vision loss in larger areas (side and central vision) usually in both eyes
Seeing halos around lights
Poor night vision
Blindness if not treated early enough
Acute or angle-closure glaucoma. This type can occur suddenly and is a medical
emergency! Signs and symptoms include:
Severe pain in and above the eye
Severe throbbing headache
Fogginess of vision, halos around lights
Redness in the eye, swollen upper eyelid
Nausea, vomiting, weakness
Glaucoma may not be preventable, but the blindness that may result from it is.
Ask to be tested for glaucoma whenever you get a regular vision checkup. It's a simple, painless procedure. If pressure inside the eyeball is high, an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will probably give you eyedrops; and perhaps oral medication. If this fails to control pressure, a couple of options exist.
Ultrasound which uses sound waves to reduce the pressure in the eye. This is usually performed as a short, outpatient procedure.
Laser beam surgery and other surgical procedures that can widen the drainage channels within the eye, relieving fluid buildup.