Your optic nerve will be damaged with the pressure formed in the eye. This pressure and the nerve damage stops the images being sent to the brain - leading to your blindness.
What Is Glaucoma
Glaucoma damages your optic nerve that sends messages to your brain and any damage to this becomes the major cause of blindness. It is the fluid that is formed in the front of the eye which pressurises your eye and damages the optic nerve. This pressure is termed as the Intraocular pressure (IOP),or simply the eye pressure.
Every individual who may get glaucoma will be prone to a range of severities. In some cases, you may just get light pressure on your eye and still get glaucoma. If left without being treated, your minor cause of glaucoma may even make you blind. So, it is always advised to regularly check your eyes and keep them healthy.
Most patients suffering from glaucoma DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS occasionally some patients observe
Redness in Eye
(Especially in Infants)
Seeing Blurry Rings Around the Lights
Nausea and Vomiting
Causes Of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is usually caused as a result of the damage that occurred to the optic nerve. The gradual deterioration of the optic nerve results in the blind spots in the visual field. This damage to your optic nerve may happen majorly due to the IOP pressure formed in the eye. Your eyes produce a fluid called the aqueous humor which flows through the pupil to the front of your eye.
In the case of a healthy eye, the fluid leaves through a drainage canal between the iris and the cornea. In the case of a glaucoma infected eye, the canal gets clogged and the fluid has no way to go. As a result, it builds up in the eyes forming the pressure to the front of the eye which leads to the damage of the optic nerve.
Types of Glaucoma
Primary Open-angle Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma where your drain structure in the eye will be fine and clear, but the fluid will not flow out like how it should.
Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma
Most common in Asia. your eyes may not drain properly as the space between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow. Also relates to farsightedness and cataracts too.
Caused when other eye conditions like cataracts or diabetes lead to added pressure in the eye.
It is the childhood glaucoma caused in infants and may be inherited during birth due to the incorrect development of eye drainage system.
Glaucoma Eye Drops
Medical management of glaucoma with eye drops is the first line management to lower the pressure in the eyes. Since glaucoma is a lifelong condition, you will have to rely on these eye drops for lifetime. The eye drops may differ based on the severity of the condition of your eye. Often our specialists will put you on a combination therapy of drops to bring your IOP to the target pressure.
Laser Treatment for Glaucoma
Laser treatment is a very common form for glaucoma. The type of laser surgery is very much dependent on the severity of the disease. Prior to performing laser treatment, your eyes will be numbed to make it painless. Laser surgeries can be
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) : For the treatment of primary open-angle glaucoma
- Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT): For the treatment of primary open-angle glaucoma
- Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) : For the treatment of narrow angles and narrow-angle glaucoma.
Surgery for glaucoma is only reserved for advanced glaucoma or when all medical treatment options have failed. It is the most common surgical process preferred for glaucoma. Here, it is all about the removal of the eye's drainage tubes so that fluid flows freely through them. Glaucoma surgery is crucially performed with the help of an anesthesia to experience hassle-free operation. Another surgical modality is the implantation of glaucoma valves inside the eyes to aid in the outward transport of the aqueous humor from the eye, thus lowering the intra-ocular pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone can get Glaucoma. People who have an immediate family member or a close relative taking treatment for glaucoma are at greater risk. But glaucoma can develop even without any positive family history.Glaucoma can also occur in eyes with injury, inflamamation and cataract. It can also occur in people taking steroid medications for other systemic issues. People with blood pressure who take their BP medications at night need to routinely monitor for a variant of glaucoma called as Normotensive glaucoma [NTG], where the damage to the optic nerve occurs despite a normal IOP.
Not really if treated well on time. Even though Glaucoma is a very serious disease, it is very much controllable with the modern treatment. So there is nothing to worry about it - Consult your doctor, take tests and start treating it.
Any person above the age of 40 years should get a thorough eye check-up from their eye doctor atleast once in 2 years. Any person who has a family history of glaucoma should get a yearly check-up after the age of 18 years. The basic eye checkup at Sri Eye Care looks for suspicious clinical signs of Glaucoma. However the only way to detect the presence of Glaucoma is by doing a visual field assessment [VFA] or perimetry test. This tests the sensitivity of the patient’s visual field and any deviation from the normal age based population is detected.
Unfortunately the damage that has already occurred to Glaucoma cannot be reversed. However it is important to prevent further progress of the disease before it involves the central vision by the use of eye drops, laser treatments or surgery.
They are termed as
- Tonometry - to check the inner eye pressure
- Ophthalmoscopy - to check the size of optic disc and cup
- Perimetry - to check the complete field of vision
- Gonioscopy - to check the eye angle where it meets cornea
- Pachymetry - to check the thickness of cornea
Two main forms of Glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. Other types include Secondary Glaucoma, Pigmentary Glaucoma, Traumatic Glaucoma, Neovascular Glaucoma and Uveitic Glaucoma.