Steroid-Induced Glaucoma: Meaning, Causes, and Prevention

Mon Dec 30 2019
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Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve of the eye gets damaged. If this eye disease is left untreated, then it may cause blindness. Glaucoma is one of the primary factors of vision loss for people over the age of 60. The damage of the optic nerve happens because of an increase in fluid pressure within the eyes. Most of the time, many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. The person might not notice any change unless the problem worsens to an advanced stage. The other name of glaucoma is "the sneak thief of sight." There are mainly two types of glaucoma: closed-angle glaucoma, which is also called as acute angle-closure glaucoma, and open-angle glaucoma, which is also known as chronic glaucoma.

What is Steroid-Induced Glaucoma?

Steroid-Induced glaucoma is a form of secondary open-angle glaucoma and is also widely known as ocular hypertension. It results from the use of steroids. Various medical conditions are treated with the usage of steroids. This may include allergic, inflammatory, and immunologic diseases. It is often used to treat systemic and ocular conditions. Unmonitored use of steroids, especially in eye drop formulations, is very common when it is readily available over-the-counter. Unsupervised usage ultimately results in undesirable side effects.

What causes Steroid-Induced Glaucoma?

Steroids result in changes in the aqueous fluid outflow system resulting in increased eye pressure. Steroid-induced glaucoma may occur after steroid use in susceptible individuals. The response to it can occur within a few weeks or a few days in some highly sensitive people. If left untreated or unrecognized, this can result in the development of steroid-induced glaucoma. If the steroids are discontinued in time, the eye pressure generally returns to previous levels. The eye disease is common in people having glaucoma and their blood relatives. One should try to stop the intake of steroids. If avoidance is difficult, then efforts should be made to direct the use of steroids in the lowest possible potency. It should be checked with an ophthalmologist whether you have glaucoma or at risk of it. The tests help monitor your IOP (Intraocular pressure). It is considered that ocular hypertension is an eye pressure of greater than 21 mm Hg. If you're diagnosed with steroid-induced glaucoma, then you have to take certain precautions and treatments.

Reasons for High Eye Pressure

  1. Enormous aqueous production:

    The aqueous humor is a fluid that is produced by the ciliary body, a thin structure located behind the iris. If the ciliary body produces too much fluid, then the pressure in the eye increases, causing ocular hypertension.
  2. Certain medicines:

    Few medications can also affect the balance of aqueous production. If you're also taking steroid medication, then make it a point to get your IOP checked at regular intervals.
  3. Inadequate aqueous production:

    The high pressure in the eye is also created when the aqueous drains too slowly from the eye.
  4. Family history:

    Race, age and family history also play a vital role.

Ways to Prevent Steroid-Induced glaucoma

Listed below are some ways by which you can prevent steroid-Induced glaucoma:
  1. Regular dilated eye exam:

    Regular eye exams are always suggested. It helps in detecting glaucoma in its early stages, much before any significant damage occurs. Patients with glaucoma have to attend frequent screenings.
  2. Check your family history:

    Since you're at an increased rate of developing glaucoma if you have a family history of it, it is advised that you should take all necessary precautions to avoid it in the best possible way.
  3. Take prescribed eye drops:

    Eye Drops meant for treating glaucoma result in reducing the high eye pressure. Hence, after doctor's consultation, eye drops should be taken.
  4. Exercise safely:

    Moderate and regular exercise may help in reducing eye pressure. You can have a talk with your doctor about an appropriate exercise program.
  5. Eye protection:

    Wear eye protection if you are playing high-speed games or using power tools.
  6. Necessary information sharing:

    While testing, the doctor might ask specific questions like if you experience eye redness, headache, multi-colored halos, etc. They can also enquire about previous surgeries or illnesses. It is better to inform the doctor so that your further medication goes in the right direction.
Time plays a crucial role while dealing with steroid-Induced glaucoma as any delay can lead to severe consequences. Hence, immediate measures should be taken to deal with this eye disorder. Centre For Sight aims at helping patients suffering from steroid-induced glaucoma with a healthy and successful treatment. Being a prominent name in the eye care fraternity, CFS continues to provide patients with the best possible eye treatment and care. Also Read: मोतियाबिंद इन हिंदी
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Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve of the eye gets damaged. If this eye disease is left untreated, then it may...
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