Glaucoma is a medical condition of the eye in which the fluid pressure within the eye rises. If untreated patient may lose vision and become blind.
It is common in older adults and if left untreated may cause damage to the optic nerve
What is glaucoma?
It is a condition in which there is increased pressure within the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve. There is a space in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber, clear liquid flows in and out of the anterior chamber; this fluid nourishes the nearby tissues. In glaucoma patients, the fluid drains slowly out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up leading to increased pressure inside the eye. It affects both eyes, although one eye may be more severely affected than other.
Causes of glaucoma:
Exact cause is not known, but it is divided into two categories.
- Primary glaucoma: the cause is not known
- Secondary glaucoma: it has a known cause such as tumor, diabetes, cataract or inflammation.
- Old age
- Eye injury or conditions (myopia)
- Previous eye surgery
- Corticosteroids: patients on long term corticosteroids are at risk of developing glaucoma
- Vision loss
- Severe eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting
- Red eyes
- A routine eye exam, tonometer is used to measure your intraocular pressure. Patients eye typically is numbed with eye drops, and a small probe gently rests against your eye’s surface. An abnormally high IOP reading indicates a problem with the amount of fluid in the eye.
- Vision field testing is used to determine the loss of vision.
Medications: in most of the cases initial treatment would be eye drops such as prostaglandin analogues, cholinergic agents and beta blockers.
Surgery: if medications’ doesn’t work then surgical intervention is the only option. It includes trabeculoplasty, filtering surgery and drainage implant.
It can’t be prevented but diagnosing at early means it can be treated more effectively and vision loss can be minimized.
Who should get their eyes checked for Glaucoma?
- Adults above the age of 40 should ask their doctors for testing for glaucoma.
- People who have family history of Glaucoma
- People who have had short sight (miopia) since childhood
- People who have Diabetes