Loss of Sight

Article excerpt

"O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!" - John Milton (1608-1674), English poet. Samson, in Samson Agonistes (1671)

John Milton didn't have it exactly right for he went on with: "Blind among enemies, O worse than chains, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!" That is to say, sometimes going blind comes with "decrepit age." That is, if we are talking about glaucoma, which together with cataracts and diabetic retinopathy constitute the top causes of blindness in the aging.

Definition. According to MayoClinic.

com, glaucoma is not a single disease entity but a group of conditions resulting in "optic nerve damage which diminishes sight." The usual cause is an abnormally high pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). A quick look at patient information webpages have three key messages: 1) Glaucoma has no warning signs, 2) if untreated, glaucoma causes vision loss or blindness, 3) those at higher risk of glaucoma should get an a dilated eye exam every one or two years.

Who are at risk? The book says everyone older than 60, a family history of glaucoma, co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and hypothyroidism. Being nearsighted (myopia) increases the risk of developing glaucoma and so does prolonged use of corticosteroids, particularly corticosteroid eyedrops.

Signs and symptoms. Note that there are two common types - the primary open-angle glaucoma and the acute angle-closure glaucoma. …