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Cause of Glaucoma explained

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As frontman of U2, Bono has always exuded style and swagger. An essential part of the iconic musician’s look is his tinted glasses. It’s hard to imagine Bono without them. However, the Irish singer’s reason for sporting spectacles is not merely a case of style.

Bono has lived with glaucoma for almost three decades now.

Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged.

It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye.

Back in 2014, the rockstar revealed that his shades alleviate some of the difficulties caused by the chronic eye condition.

Speaking on BBC1’s Graham Norton show, the U2 frontman explained that for the past 20 years he has had glaucoma, a condition that can make eyes more sensitive to light.

Asked by Norton whether he ever removes his shades, strattera 4 year old Bono replied: “This is a good place to explain to people that I’ve had glaucoma for the last 20 years. I have good treatments and I am going to be fine.”

The singer added: “You’re not going to get this out of your head now and you will be saying, ‘Ah, poor old blind Bono.’”

Glaucoma – what are the signs?

Glaucoma does not usually cause any symptoms to begin with.

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It tends to develop slowly over many years and affects the edges of your vision (peripheral vision) first.

For this reason, many people do not realise they have glaucoma, and it’s often only picked up during a routine eye test.

“If you do notice any symptoms, they might include blurred vision, or seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights,” explains the NHS.

According to the health body, both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one eye.

Very occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly and cause:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A red eye
  • A headache
  • Tenderness around the eyes
  • Seeing rings around lights
  • Blurred vision.

Can it be treated?

The Mayo Clinic says: “The damage caused by glaucoma can’t be reversed.

“But treatment and regular checkups can help slow or prevent vision loss, especially if you catch the disease in its early stages.”

According to the health body, glaucoma treatment often starts with prescription eye drops.

“Some may decrease eye pressure by improving how fluid drains from your eye.”

Other treatments include:

  • Laser surgery
  • Surgery.

Are you at risk?

Unfortunately, many risk factors for glaucoma cannot be changed. According to Harvard Health, these include a family history of glaucoma, Age (60 and over, or age 40 and over for African Americans) and very nearsightedness.

However, there are some modifiable risk factors, the health body notes.

These include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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