Glaucoma affects only the elderly? Debunking top 5 myths

Debunking top 5 Glaucoma myths.(photo:IANSLIFE)
While many people go for regular body check-ups, they often miss out on a routine eye check-up. Representational image: IANS

New Delhi: Glaucoma is a highly misunderstood disease, and unfortunately, many people remain unaware of their condition until it has progressed to a severe stage. Glaucoma, also known as the 'silent thief of sight', is a complex eye disease that can cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, leading to irreversible vision loss and blindness. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding this condition that can lead to confusion and a lack of proper treatment. Let's debunk the top 5 most common myths about glaucoma:

Without a timely diagnosis, glaucoma can accelerate permanent vision loss or even lead to blindness. Although treatments can slow down further vision loss, they cannot restore vision. However, with proper medication and treatment from ophthalmologists, it is possible to protect the eyes from permanent blindness. While many people go for regular body check-ups, they often miss out on a routine eye check-up.

Dr Harsh Kumar, Cataract Surgery and Glaucoma Treatment, Centre for sight said, "As an ophthalmologist, I strongly encourage individuals to prioritise their eye health with regular eye exams. In my practice, I have observed that one out of eight people above the age of 40 are either glaucoma suspects or have glaucoma. All adults should undergo a comprehensive eye exam for glaucoma every 2 years. However, those over the age of 40 or with a family history of the disease should increase the frequency to every 1 to 2 years. One can suffer from irreversible sight damage if glaucoma is left untreated or diagnosed late hence the requirement of regular checks."

It is important to note that many people often confuse cataracts with glaucoma, which share some risk factors and similar symptoms. However, they have different causes, treatments, and outcomes. Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of fluid inside your eyes whereas cataracts are caused by the accumulation of broken-down proteins in your eyes. Therefore, it's important to receive a proper diagnosis from an ophthalmologist to receive the right treatment and prevent further complications.

Let's look at the top five most common myths around Glaucoma:

Glaucoma affects the elderly: While it is true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people as young as infants. Irregular ocular development, drainage blockages, and other medical conditions can all lead to the development of glaucoma. Hence, it is important for people of all ages to undergo regular eye exams to catch glaucoma early.

Glaucoma does not have treatment: It is often thought that there is no reason to undergo treatment for glaucoma if there are no symptoms. While glaucoma is not curable, it can be treated with medications, including eye drops and oral therapies. Continuous monitoring and early screening, and proper medication by ophthalmologists are essential for preventing blindness.

Excessive Screen Time: While prolonged screen time can cause eye strain and discomfort, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it increases the risk of developing glaucoma. Some of the common symptoms of glaucoma include severe eye pain, blurred vision and sudden vision disturbances, and nausea.

Glaucoma can be treated with home remedies: Many of us often think that glaucoma can be prevented with natural or home remedies. While some natural remedies may be beneficial for other health issues, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they can cure glaucoma. Proper treatment for glaucoma requires medication and monitoring by an ophthalmologist.

People with good vision do not have glaucoma: Glaucoma is often called the 'silent thief of sight' because people will not notice symptoms until the disease has reached moderate or advanced stages. Even people with perfect vision can develop glaucoma, so it's important for everyone to undergo regular eye exams for early diagnosis and treatment in the early stages.

In conclusion, debunking these common myths can help people better understand glaucoma and the importance of regular eye exams. Let's pledge to take better care of our eyes and protect them from the 'silent thief of sight.

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