MYTH 1: Glaucoma is one single disease
Fact: Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes progressive damage of the optic nerve where it can not communicate with the brain anymore. There are many sorts of Glaucoma, the most common being Open-Angle Glaucoma (OAG) and Angle-Closure Glaucoma (ACG).
In Open-Angle Glaucoma, the eye’s drainage canals (called the trabecular meshwork) get clogged and don’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increasing internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly with not many warning signs; by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, their optic nerve is already damaged.
In Angle-Closure Glaucoma, the angle between the eye’s iris and cornea becomes too narrow or closed in many cases, causing increased pressure. The pressure damages the optic nerve which results in vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually with symptoms such as blurry or hazy vision, seeing rainbow-colored circles around lights like halos, eye pain, etc.
MYTH 2: Glaucoma only affects the elderly or people above 60.
Fact: Although people over 60 are at greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma, the fact is, Glaucoma can affect people of all ages including newborns.
For example, newborns can have congenital glaucoma, whereas other children can have other eye diseases that lead to secondary glaucoma. Also, People between ages 20 and 50 can have pigmentary glaucoma.
According to World Glaucoma Association, some of the factors that cause Glaucoma besides being old are:
- Intraocular pressure is considered a “Risk Factor” for glaucoma
- Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is common in patients of Caucasian and African ancestry, whereas, Angle-Closure Glaucoma (ACG) is more common in Asian ancestry patients.
- People with previous eye injuries are at risk of glaucoma.
- Patients who have diabetes, or sickle cell anemia.
- Patients taking steroid medications for a long period.