To kick off Glaucoma Consciousness Month in January, specialists are setting the file straight on some frequent myths about what the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) calls the “silent thief of sight.”
Roughly three million Individuals have glaucoma.
But solely half of them are conscious they’ve the doubtless blinding illness, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).
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Right here’s the reality behind some frequent myths, in accordance with glaucoma specialists.
Fable No. 1: Individuals can inform after they’re growing glaucoma
Glaucoma has no signs in its early phases, the AAO shared with Fox Information Digital in a press release.
The dysfunction, which is brought on by a gaggle of ocular situations that harm the optic nerve, is the second main explanation for blindness worldwide, per the CDC.
Roughly three million Individuals have glaucoma, however solely half of them are conscious that they’ve the doubtless blinding illness. (iStock)
“The optic nerve is product of greater than 1,000,000 tiny nerve fibers,” the AAO said.
“It’s like an electrical cable made up of many small wires.”
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When the nerve fibers die, blind spots develop — nevertheless it’s typically not till later in the middle of the illness that sufferers develop signs.
When all of the nerve fibers die, the affected person loses his or her imaginative and prescient to glaucoma — and isn’t in a position to see once more.
Fable No. 2: Younger individuals can’t get glaucoma
Anybody can get glaucoma, however the illness’s prevalence will increase with age.
“Glaucoma is a number one explanation for blindness for individuals over 60 years previous,” the AAO famous.
African Individuals should not solely six instances extra more likely to get glaucoma than Caucasian Individuals, however they’re additionally extra more likely to develop the illness earlier in life, in accordance with the CDC. (iStock)
Even infants can get glaucoma, with an estimated one in 10,000 infants born with the situation, in accordance with The Glaucoma Basis’s web site.
Fable No. 3: Individuals can’t get glaucoma if there isn’t any household historical past
If somebody within the household has had glaucoma, everybody else, together with youngsters, needs to be examined for the attention illness, The Glaucoma Basis advises.
Roughly 90% of blindness as a consequence of glaucoma could possibly be prevented with early detection, analysis and immediate therapy.
However individuals and not using a household historical past are nonetheless in danger for the illness.
A number of the highest-risk teams embody those that: are age 40 or older; have had a earlier eye injury; are farsighted or nearsighted; have used steroids long-term; or have diabetes, migraines or hypertension, the AAO added.
Fable No. 4: Ethnicity is just not a threat issue
African Individuals should not solely six instances extra more likely to get glaucoma than Caucasian Individuals, however they’re additionally extra more likely to develop the illness earlier in life, in accordance with the CDC.
Attributable to a gaggle of ocular situations that harm the optic nerve, glaucoma is the second main explanation for blindness worldwide. (iStock)
Asian Individuals are additionally at excessive threat for growing glaucoma.
And up to date analysis has discovered that the situation is far more frequent in Hispanics than beforehand thought.
Fable No. 5: Glaucoma at all times means having elevated stress within the eye
There are lots of sorts of glaucoma, however the one factor all of them have in frequent is harm to the optic nerve.
Not all of them essentially contain elevated eye stress, in any other case often known as intraocular eye stress (IOP), though lots of them do.
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The attention continually makes aqueous humor (clear, water-like fluid), and as new aqueous flows in, the identical quantity ought to drain out, the AAO famous.
“In a wholesome eye, fluid leaves the attention by the drainage angle, holding stress steady,” the academy stated in a press release.
“But when the drainage angle is just not working correctly, fluid builds up.”
The attention continually makes aqueous humor (clear, water-like fluid), in order new aqueous flows in, the identical quantity ought to drain out, the AAO famous. (iStock)
When the stress turns into too intense, the delicate organ provides at its weakest level the place the optic nerve leaves the attention, in accordance with The Glaucoma Basis.
Whereas most sorts of glaucoma create elevated stress as a result of backup of fluid, not all circumstances are related to IOP.
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“Glaucoma specialists consider that some types of glaucoma are strongly associated to vascular modifications and impaired ‘diet’ (poor blood circulation) to the optic nerve,” The Glaucoma Basis famous in a press release.
Fable No. 6: Solely individuals with hypertension can have elevated eye stress
Individuals with hypertension don’t essentially have elevated eye pressures — and there are individuals with elevated eye pressures who should not have hypertension, specialists say.
Those that do have elevated eye pressures needs to be monitored to verify they don’t develop glaucoma.
Individuals with elevated eye pressures might haven’t any indicators of eye harm, the AAO famous.
Getting common eye exams can assist your ophthalmologist detect the beginnings of the illness earlier than imaginative and prescient loss happens, the AAO famous. (iStock)
“These sufferers are thought-about ‘glaucoma suspects’ and have a better threat of finally growing glaucoma,” the academy stated.
“Controlling blood stress doesn’t imply IOP is managed,” The Glaucoma Basis added.
Fable No. 7: You probably have glaucoma, you’ll grow to be blind
Glaucoma is the main explanation for preventable blindness. Roughly 90% of blindness as a consequence of glaucoma could possibly be prevented with early detection, analysis and immediate therapy, per The Glaucoma Basis.
The situation can typically be managed with eyedrop treatment.
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“While you use drops for glaucoma, these are sometimes meant to be lifelong eye medicines,” Nishika Reddy, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at Moran Eye Heart’s Midvalley Health Heart at The College of Utah, informed Fox Information Digital.
“Whereas you’ll not discover a change in your imaginative and prescient whereas utilizing the drops, belief that they’re working to forestall this illness from progressing,” she additionally stated.
Glaucoma is the second main explanation for blindness worldwide.
Reddy emphasised the significance of telling your eye physician about any medicines you are .c.urrently taking — particularly steroids, bronchial asthma medicines or allergy medicines, as these can have an effect on eye stress.
Developments towards a treatment
Promising new analysis from the Schepens Eye Analysis Institute of Mass Eye and Ear at Mass Normal Brigham has highlighted the potential of restoring imaginative and prescient sooner or later after somebody with glaucoma develops blindness.
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In a current examine revealed within the journal PNAS, a crew of researchers reworked stem cells from the blood into specialised eye cells in mice that had been able to touring and surviving within the retina after they had been transplanted, in accordance with a press launch.
The situation can typically be managed with eyedrop treatment, which is often taken for a lifetime. (iStock)
“We realized that the grownup and diseased eye is just not probably the most hospitable setting for the transplant, and our multidisciplinary crew discovered the way in which to fertilize the host retina to help and information donor cells into the suitable place,” senior creator Petr Baranov, M.D., PhD, of Mass Eye and Ear — additionally an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical College — informed Fox Information Digital.
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Whereas greater than three million individuals presently have glaucoma within the U.S., that quantity is predicted to develop to 4.2 million by 2030, in accordance with the Nationwide Eye Institute.
Getting common eye exams can assist your ophthalmologist detect the beginnings of the illness earlier than imaginative and prescient loss happens, the AAO famous.
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