Can glaucoma cause sudden blindness?

can glaucoma cause sudden blindness

Too high a pressure in the eye could damage the optic nerve but can glaucoma cause sudden blindness? Let’s find out.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease caused by optic nerve damage in the eyes but unfortunately, most people do not realize that their vision is affected by this disease until 40% of their optic nerve is damaged.

Glaucoma is among the three leading causes of blindness other than cornea and retina damage, but not many know that the risk of the disease can cause permanent vision loss.

Damages that had occurred to the optic nerve are permanent and until now if loss of sight had occurred there is no remedy for recovery. The optic nerve is like an electrical cable containing wires where it transmits any images from the eye to the brain.

When the optic nerve is damaged, it will create a blind point in the visual space that eventually make us lose sight. This disease often occurs in people aged 40 and over.

In 2008, it is estimated that 68 million people worldwide has glaucoma, and this number is expected to increase to 88 million people by 2020.

Can glaucoma cause sudden blindness?

Yes, it can.

Because glaucoma can occur without us realizing it. Thus, you should immediately consult the eye doctor when experiencing symptoms such as: –

  • Eye pain
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • A sudden loss of vision
  • There are black spots in your vision of space
  • Your sight as if you are in the tunnel (clearly in the middle and blurred or dark side)
  • Nausea or vomiting due to vision problems

Even people who have the below-mentioned factors should also undergo regular eye examination:

  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Had suffered injuries to the eye
  • The use of steroid medication in the long term
  • Suffer severe vision problems (shortsighted or longsighted)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent migrants
  • Have already reached age 40 and above

Glaucoma will affect the ability to drive, detect the location of an item, climb a staircase and recognize faces. Glaucoma will also cause a person to walk slowly and has the potential to fall.

The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is to undergo an eye examination, particularly for individuals aged 40 and above or is having diabetes or high blood pressure, prolonged usage of computers, or have vision problems.

In developing countries, cataracts are usually the cause of blindness, but there are also due to glaucoma, and corneal and retinal diseases. In developed countries, the major cause of blindness is a disease related to macular (the area of the retina which is responsible for detailed central vision) which is also related to aging. Macular degeneration refers to loss of central vision.

The main cause of glaucoma is the pressure in the eye (intraocular) which is too high until it can cause damage to the optic nerve.  Our eyes naturally produce clear liquid to ensure healthy eyes and can be functioning well.  This fluid will always be produced and will naturally disposed of so that the pressure in the eyes is balanced. When the fluid channel is blocked, it increases the pressure in the eye.

Pressure on the Intraocular which is too high will usually be detected when the patient met an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an unrelated problem to glaucoma. However, glaucoma can also occur if you have normal intraocular pressure.

Can treated glaucoma cause blindness?

Yes, it can. But it is only around a 15% chance of going blind after being treated for glaucoma and it takes around 15 years or more to occur that.

The best way to deal with this problem is to undergo an eye examination to check if you have glaucoma or not.

Because glaucoma has no symptoms, many did not know that they have this kind of disease. Therefore, you are encouraged to undergo treatment among others including:

  • Visual accuracy test. – undergo different measures of vision at different distances.
  • Visual space testing – measuring the sides or side vision (peripheral). Limited vision in this position is a sign of glaucoma.
  • Eye dilation test. A few drops of liquid are given to the pupil to expand it and this will allow examination of the retina and optic nerve.
  • Inspection of intraocular pressure

Although optic nerve damages are unrecoverable, glaucoma could be treated before it could cause permanent blindness or loss of vision. Proper treatment can slow down the development of glaucoma.

These drops can reduce the production of fluid in the eye and improve the process of liquid removal points. Apart from that, glaucoma can be treated with the surgical method to correct the liquid waste system.

Now you know that glaucoma can cause sudden blindness and it can be treated, just do an annual physical examination and do not forget about undergoing an eye examination too.