Glaucoma

Glaucoma or vision loss is a progressive condition wherein the optic nerves of the eye are damaged and over time, gets worse due to the building up of the fluid pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is said to be inherited and shows up later in life. Though it cannot be prevented, glaucoma can be treated and controlled early if diagnosed earlier. Those with a family history of glaucoma and are 40 years old or over should undergo a complete eye exam every year. Eye examination should be more frequent for those who are at risk of other eye problems, or are diabetic. People at high risk of glaucoma are from the descents of African-Americans, Scandinavians, Hispanic, Russians, Irish and Inuits; as well as those taking steroid medications or had trauma to the eyes.

Glaucoma Drugs

Glaucoma Symptoms

Loss of the side or peripheral vision is often the first sign of glaucoma. When intraocular pressure rises, the patient will feel sudden eye pain, blurred vision or headache. The eye can also become red, or hazy in infants. The concerned may vomit or nausea. He can also see some halos around lights. If this happens, he should go for a medical check up soonest as blindness can occur quickly if left untreated.

  • Loss or peripheral vision in both eyes
  • Tunnel vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Decreased or blurred vision
  • Visions of rainbows or halos
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Glaucoma Causes

Glaucoma is caused by too much pressure within the eye, which then causes an excess of fluid in the eye. Over some time, this can then result in damage to optic nerve.

  • Inherited genes
  • Infection of eye
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye injury from chemicals
  • Eye surgery

Fluid aqueous humor flows out of the eye via a channel. If there are some blocks in that channel, the fluid accumulates and glaucoma occurs. The cause of the blockage is still to be found out, but doctors think it is inherited. Intraocular pressure happens when fluid does not circulate normally in the eye’s front part and damages the nerves that transmit images to the brain. If the pressure continues, permanent vision loss can happen. That is why glaucoma can cause total blindness within few years if not treated.

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma is diagnosed by test vision and eye examination through the dilated pupil, focusing on the optic nerve which changes when glaucoma progresses. The doctor may also perform tonometry to check eye pressure, as well as a visual field test to determine if the side vision is lost. Glaucoma tests are without pain and requires less time.

  • Vision test
  • Tonometry
  • Peripheral vision test
  • Physical eye examination

Glaucoma Treatment

Below you will find a variety of methods to treat Glaucoma in all of its stages:

Eye drop treatment for Glaucoma

  • Eye drops either lessen the fluid formation or increase its outflow in the front part of the eye.
  • Eye drops can have side effects like allergy, eye redness, blurred vision, irritated eyes, brief stinging and blurred vision. Drugs for glaucoma may also have adverse effects to the lungs and heart.

Laser surgery treatment for Glaucoma

  • Laser surgery increases the fluid outflow slightly or removes the blockage of the fluid.
  • Laser surgery trabeculoplasty is the opening of the trabecular meshwork and is commonly used to treat glaucoma. It is a 15-minute painless outpatient operation. The laser is harmless when passing the eye surface and focuses on the trabecular meshwork to shrink it and reopen the holes. Many patients found this effective and stop other medications after trabeculoplasty.
  • Glaucoma laser surgery types also include iridotomy to make a hole in the iris and cyclophotocoagulation to treat the parts in the eye’s middle layer to lessen the fluid production.
  • Microsurgery is trabeculectomy, an operation to create a new channel to drain the fluid and reduce intraocular pressure. However, this can complicate into temporary or complete vision loss, infection or bleeding.