Glaucoma: Common myths and facts you should know to help your loved ones

Only elderly people get affected by glaucoma -- a myth or a fact? Go through the list of myths and facts about glaucoma to help in taking care of your loved one.
Glaucoma myths and facts you should know. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 11 Feb 2023, 10:00 am IST

Glaucoma is a potentially blinding disease, and there are many misconceptions around it. One of them is that glaucoma affects only the elderly people. There are many myths and facts about glaucoma, and you should be aware of them, especially if a loved one has it. So, instead of falling for the misconceptions around glaucoma, it’s better to know the facts.

According to National Health Portal, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness with at least 12 million people. HealthShots connected with Dr Nirati Srivastava, Consultant, Ophthalmology, Regency Hospital, Kanpur, to know more about glaucoma.

Know about glaucoma myths and facts to help a loved one. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is glaucoma?

Before we move on to myths and facts of glaucoma, you should know what it is. Dr Srivastava says that it is a category of eye disorders that is responsible for optic nerve damage. The optic nerve is important as it transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. In simple words, it is essential for normal eyesight (causes and tips to protect your eyesight).

Many types of glaucoma, including open-angle, have no symptoms. The effect is so gradual that you may not detect a change in vision until the problem is advanced. In fact, glaucoma is one of the primary causes of blindness in adults who are more than 40 years old.

Myths about glaucoma

• Only the elderly are affected by glaucoma.
• You won’t get glaucoma if you have 20/20 vision and no symptoms.
• Only people who have high ocular pressure develop glaucoma.
• Glaucoma is inherited, so you won’t contract the condition since no one in your family has it.

Facts about glaucoma

• People of all age groups are susceptible to glaucoma. As we age, our risk of developing glaucoma rises.
• A person with perfect vision can develop glaucoma over a period of time. Symptoms don’t manifest themselves until the condition has progressed to a moderate or advanced state, glaucoma is frequently referred to as the “silent thief of sight”.
• High eye pressure is frequently associated with optic nerve damage, but glaucoma can develop even with normal eye pressure (yoga poses for relief from increased eye pressure).
• In India, glaucoma is the main cause of blindness, and you can have it even if your family doesn’t.

Glaucoma is the main cause of blindness in India. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Effects of glaucoma can’t be reversed

The sad part is that effects of glaucoma cannot be reversed. But medication and regular exams can help decrease or prevent vision loss. It all comes down to detecting it early. The expert says regular eye check-ups that involve measures of eye pressure are essential. Vision loss can be delayed or even prevented if glaucoma is detected early. Treatment or monitoring for the rest of the life is required if you or loved one is having glaucoma.

Try doing the following

• Prepare green leafy vegetables for your family member
• Encourage them to do yoga and exercise regularly
• Let them sleep on a higher pillow to equalise eye pressure
• Tell them to avoid smoking and alcohol
• Try not to give them caffeine and carbonated drinks.

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With these lifestyle modifications, you and your family can work towards healthy eyes.

Natalia Ningthoujam

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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