Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world. It is the damage caused to the optic nerve due to increase in the pressure of the eye. This causes peripheral loss of vision. People seldom notice these blind areas in the side vision until considerable optic nerve damage has occurred. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results. Fortunately, this rarely occurs if glaucoma is diagnosed and treated before major damage has taken place.

The signs and symptoms of glaucoma include headaches, pain around the eyes, blurring of vision, frequent change of spectacles, haloes around light, etc.
Different Types Of Glaucoma
1) Chronic Glaucoma:
It is a slow progressive disease process and causes visual loss so quietly that the patient is unaware till the final stage of the disease. There is a rise in the pressure of the eye, higher than what the eye can tolerate, for a long period of time due to which nerve damage occurs resulting in loss of sight.

2) Acute Glaucoma:
Its onset is quite sudden. The patient develops sudden blurring of vision with severe pain around the eye. Every attack of acute glaucoma, mild or severe, leaves behind some residual damage. At times the attack may be so severe, that if not relieved promptly, blindness can result in a matter of days.

3) Congenital Glaucoma:
This occurs in new born infants. The child's eye appears cloudy and becomes abnormally large in size. If not diagnosed and treated, it leads to irreversible blindness at an early stage.

4) Secondary Glaucoma:
This type of glaucoma occurs as a side effect of some other disease process in the eye, eg, bleeding, inflammation, tumour, hyper-mature cataract, etc.
Regular medical eye exam may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss. There are three treatment modalities available for glaucoma - Medical, Laser, Surgical.

You should have an examination every 3 to 5 years, if you are aged 39 and over.

You should have an examination every 1 to 2 years, if:
1) If a family member has glaucoma
2) If you have had a serious eye injury
3) If you are taking steroid medications
4) If you are a diabetic
5) If you have near sightedness

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