According to recent studies, glaucoma affects 3 million people every year around the world. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Half of the people who have glaucoma do not know that they have it until much later. Ninety percent of 120,000 Americans every year are blinded by this disease (CBS Interactive Business Network).
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that leads to optic nerve damage and a loss of mainly peripheral vision. It is nicknamed "the sneaky thief of sight" since it does not present any initial symptoms. By the time a person comes to know about this disease a major amount of their vision is either lost or affected.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that results in an inability to drain fluid inside the eye properly, that in turn results in a build up of pressure in the eye damaging the optic nerve. Most common forms of glaucoma is not recognized, especially in diabetics, until it has advanced with significant vision loss (Glaucoma Research Foundation).
Glaucoma can develop in diabetics with retinopathy when new blood vessels can grow in the iris (the colored portion of the eye) which closes off the fluid flow in the eye, leading to increased eye pressure and optic nerve damage. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop some form of glaucoma unless high blood sugar is tightly controlled. Different types of glaucoma include:
1. Chronic open angle glaucoma
2. Normal tension or low tension glaucoma
3. Congenital or infantile glaucoma
4. Secondary open angle glaucoma
5. Pigmented glaucoma
6. Angle-closure glaucoma
Symptoms of advanced glaucoma include blurred vision, visual field loss, haziness, halos around lights ( in the morning), headache, nausea, vomiting, dark spots or floaters, pain in one or both eyes, pressure in the eyes, and peripheral vision loss. Optic nerve damage cannot be reversed unless the glaucoma is diagnosed early in stage. Even though vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed, damage can be controlled by using eye drops to lower intraocular pressure (medicinenet.com).