What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages eye's optic nerve.
In the healthy eye, a clear fluid called aqueous humor circulaes inside the front portion of the eye.To maintain a constant healthy eye pressure, the eye continually produces a small amount of aqueous humor while an equal amount of this flud flows out of the eye.
I f the aqueous humor is produced excessively or is not being drained out properly, the fluid pressure in the eye builds up and, over time, causes damage to optic nerve.
In glaucoma, usually one doesn't have any early symptoms.The disease progresses slowly and can steal one's sight very gradually.Fortunately early detection and treatment can help preserve vision.
Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma-
In its early stages,open-angle glaucoma has no obvious signs.As the disease progresses and more damage occurs,blind spots develop in peripheral (side) vision.These spots may not be noticeable until the optic nerve has become severely damaged.In more sever stages,it may lead to tunnel vision and finally,blindness if ignored or not treated properly.
Hence,regular monitoring and follow-up with Ophthalmologist is extremely important.
Types of Glaucoma:-
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma:-
This is the most common form of glaucoma.It occurs when the trabecular meshwork of the gradually becomes less efficient at draining fluid.As this happens , the high pressure(called intraocular pressure,IOP) rises.
Raised eye pressure damages the optic nerve .
Damage to optic nerve can occur at different eye pressures among different individuals . The ophthalmologists determines a target pressure for an individual that will protect his/her optic nerve from further damage.Different individuals will have different target pressures.
Normal Tension Glaucoma:-
In this condition,the optic nerve may get damaged even at an eye pressure that is consistently below the normal eye pressure of 21 mm Hg.They typically receive the same treatment as used in open-angle glaucoma.
What is Ocular Hypertension?
In this condition , one has an eye pressure that is higher than normal, but does not show any signs of optic nerve damage/Glaucoma.These people need to be closely monitored and must receive appreciate treatment ,as they are at high risk of deloping optic nerve damage/ glaucoma.
Closed-angle Glaucoma or Angle-closure Glaucoma:-
Closed angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle of the eye is partially or completely blocked by iris.In this condition,the eye pressure usually goes up very fast.
If the drainage angle becomes completely blocked,there is a quick rise in eye pressure,resulting in closed-angle glaucoma attack.The symptoms of an attck include:Severe eye or brow pain ,redness,decreased/blurred vision,headache,nausea,seeing colored rainbows or halos.
Such an attack is medical emergency and must be treated immediately.
It is characterized by accumulation of microscopic protein fibers,which block normal drainage of aqueous humor and this in turn causes build-up of pressure.'
It is a rare type of glaucoma that develops in infants and young children and can be inherited.It can often result in blindness if not diagnosed and treated early.
It is a type of glaucoma that results from another eye condition or disease.For example,it may develop due to an eye injury ,due to long-term steroid therapy or due to tumor.
One of the problems with glaucoma,especially open-angle glaucoma,is that there are typically no symptoms in the early stages.Many people who have the disease do not know they have it .This is why it is important, especially as one gets older, to have regular medical eye exams by an ophthalmologist.
A comprehensive Glaucoma evaluation involves following tests:-
* Tonometry:Measurement of pressure in the eye.
* Gonioscopy:Inspection of eye's drainage angle.
* Ophthalmoloscopy:Inspection of optic nerve.
* Visual Field Test:Test for side/peripheral vision.
* Pachymetry: Measurement of thickness of the cornea.
How a patient's glaucoma is treated will depend on the specific type of glaucoma,the severity of disease and how it responds to treatment.The vision once lost cannot be restored ,but fortunately,further vision can be prevented by regularly taking the prescribed medicines and regularly going for eye check-ups.
Medicated eye drops are the most common way to treat glaucoma.
These Medications lower the eye pressure in one of two ways –either by slowing the production of aqueous humor or by improving its outflow. These eye drops must be taken every day and as regularly as prescribed by the ophthalmologist .Never change or stop taking medications without talking with the doctor.
In some patients,surgical intervention may be required .Your Ophthalmologist is the best person to guide you in this regard. Jeevan Jyoti Netralaya,Gwalior has a team of expert doctors to guide you in every phase of treatment.