59-year-old, Irish singer-songwriter and musician Bono wears a lot of hats and in addition to being the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of rock band U2, Bono, whose real name is Paul David Hewson is also a venture capitalist, businessman, and renowned philanthropist. You are not alone if you wondered about the ever-present sunglasses that the U2 frontman has had for almost 20 years and you are wrong to assume that they are a rock-star affectation. The star revealed that he wears dark glasses even indoors because he suffers from a condition that causes a build-up of pressure in the eyeball known as glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second most common form of progressive blindness among African-Americans and Hispanics in the U.S., after macular degeneration. Glaucoma is associated with high intraocular pressure (IOP) where optometrists and ophthalmologists routinely measure the elevated pressure of vitreous fluid impinging on the optic nerve where it enters the eye. With this condition, the optic nerve that sits snag behind the eye experiences a buildup of colossal pressure known as intraocular pressure and unfortunately, the more this pressure continues to build, the more damage is caused to the bundle of nerves that transmit impulses or images to the brain.
Detecting glaucoma is very difficult because soon after the pressure buildup begins to affect the eye by damaging a significant number of nerves that cause blind spots to develop, most people are completely unaware of the blind spots until permanent damage is done and before detection, most if not all of the optic nerve is already destroyed. Glaucoma is generally an inherited trait and knowing this can help those with a genetic predisposition because if caught early enough, it can be managed using eye drops, tablets, laser treatment, or surgical procedures that work to alleviate eye pressure and prevent further vision loss.
Glaucoma is known to develop slowly over a number of years, leaving gradual loss of vision from the periphery in its wake. It’s most likely that Bono suffers from Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma which is the most common and caused by a blockage in the eye preventing fluid from draining away and causing increased pressure. Chronic open-angle glaucoma is responsible for one in ten cases of visual impairment and while it’s not known why the blockage occurs, nonetheless, the subsequent pressure causes damage to the optic nerve including light sensitive nerves like the back of the eye. If treatment plans are followed to a tee, most patients suffering from this condition do not experience any further blindness or severe discomfort.
The best way to protect your eyes from damage caused by glaucoma is to regularly visit an optometrist especially if you are overweight or have a family history of such eye disorders. If experiencing more than one of the symptoms like sudden loss of vision in one eye, haziness or blurred vision, flashes of light, dark spots, or halo-like rainbows around lighted objects, seek optometry services immediately.