The eye disease glaucoma is often called the “sneak thief of sight.” This is due to the fact that the loss of vision typically occurs over a long time period and is only able to be detected when the disease has become quite advanced. People suffering from glaucoma, unfortunately, don’t have many options and may be tempted to resort to laser eye surgery.
The Causes of Glaucoma
While there are several reasons that you may develop glaucoma, it is usually due to a substantial failure of your eyes to maintain a proper balance in the actual amount of intraocular, or internal, fluid that is produced by the person’s eye, and the amount that is drained away. The reason for the imbalance is typically related to the actual type of the disease that you have.
You can compare this disorder to the pressure in a football or basketball. They both must maintain a certain pressure in order to keep their shape. Well, the same goes for your eyes – the eyeball must maintain a certain amount of internal pressure with the fluid inside in order to maintain the globe shape, as well as the vision ability of the eye.
When something comes along that affects the eyes ability to maintain its internal structure and regular IOP, intraocular pressure, the pressure in the eye can then raise to extremely dangerous levels and this excess pressure will then cause the disorder glaucoma.
If a ball or balloon become too inflated, they are able to “spring a leak” in order to relieve the excess pressure and deflate. Don’t worry though, this is not a possibility with the eye! However, as the eye pressure continues to build, it begins to push against the eye’s optic nerve until the point that the nerve fibers are actually damaged permanently and the person’s vision is obsolete.
The Eye’s Anatomy with Glaucoma
As the glaucoma condition progresses, the injury to your eye’s neurons will eventually lead to damage in the eye that will affect your peripheral vision. However, the first of the eye damage will appear in the brain, as the connectivity begins to become lost. Essentially, the degeneration of glaucoma works in reverse, beginning in the person’s brain and then working all the way back to the retina.
How the Eye’s Intraocular Fluid Moves
In order to fully understand the causes of glaucoma, you have to first take time to learn something about the eye’s anatomy and how the intraocular fluid actually progresses through the eyes.
- The clear fluid within your eyes is produced by the ciliary body. This is a circular structure that is located behind your iris, or the colored part of your eye.
- The fluid is referred to as aqueous humor and can be found flowing behind your eye’s iris and through the pupil. Then the fluid will fill an anterior chamber that is located at the rear of the cornea and the front of the eye’s iris.
- The aqueous humor will then exit the eyes through a structure that is known as the drainage angle. This is the angle that is formed between the peripheral cornea and iris and is located inside the anterior chamber.
- The fluid will filter through this angled space and then through the white portion of your eyes and will then join the network of various veins that are outside the eye.
- If there is any disruption of the outflow of the fluid, which can result from a variety of different eye injuries, it will likely lead to an increased amount of IOP.
The draining angle is typically referred to as being open or closed, or narrow. The narrower that the angle is, the more difficult it becomes for the aqueous to flow out. However, even with an open angle there can be flow hindrance if there is structural damage within the tissues of the actual angle.
Other Causes of Glaucoma
The main cause of glaucoma is high IOP; however, the disease is also seen in patients that have normal internal eye pressure. This is referred to as normal-tension glaucoma. It is caused by an extremely pressure-sensitive optic nerve, which can be easily damaged, even when the IOP is normal.
While the specific cause of normal tension glaucoma is unknown, many professionals believe that it is linked to a decrease in blood flow that goes to the eye’s optic nerve. Additionally, this poor flow of blood can be associated with the development of blind spots.
Glaucoma Screening and Dietery Factors
In most cases, glaucoma is tested for by evaluating the presence of high IOP. Due to the fact that this disease can occur even without a high IOP, a direct examination of the eye actual optic nerve, as well as visual field tests, is an essential part of ensuring that glaucoma is not present.
Glaucoma is actually the second leading cause of blindness, only coming in after cataracts, around the world. If the condition is detected in early stages, the development can be slowed with surgical or other medical means. But, what many people don´t know is that eye pressure caused by glaucoma can be significantly decreased by incorporating a few essential vitamins and nutrients into your daily diet.
The vitamins and minerals that you can get from foods like carrots, spinach, and kale for example, can have extremely beneficial effects on your eyes. If it´s too hard or time-consuming to change your current diet, there are always supplemental options available, like our Ocu-Plus Formula, which contains the essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals needed to combat glaucoma.
Treatment for Glaucoma
While there is no complete cure for glaucoma as of now, there are many natural ways to reduce the pressure without resorting to eye surgeries like LASIK. With early diagnosis of the disease, as well as continuing treatment and maintaining a balanced diet, the person’s eyesight can be preserved.
Medical treatments of glaucoma will be dependent on the type of glaucoma that is present. Some treatment methods may include prescription eye-drops, while others will require surgery in order to manually reduce the fluid pressure in the eye, which will help to prevent any further damage to the person’s optic nerve.
Surgery for Glaucoma
In most cases, the glaucoma condition can be treated by a laser procedure. LASIK surgery should only be considered when the glaucoma condition has been stabilized and treated with other methods.
Any person that currently has a high IOP or that has predisposed glaucoma, may not be able to undergo traditional LASIK, but may be able to be treated with LASEK, PRK or P-IOL. The fact is however, there are risks associated with any surgery, which is why alternative, natural treatments are suggested for anyone suffering from glaucoma.
It is important to have regular eye exams in order to catch the signs of glaucoma early and receive treatment to prevent permanent eye loss. Once the vision is gone, there is no method that will reestablish a person’s sight.