Glaucoma is an ocular disorder that can damage the optical nerve and cause blindness. The optical nerve transmits visual information to your brain through your eyes.
Glaucoma often occurs, but not always, because of unusually high pressure within the eye. With time, increased pressure can abrade your optical nervous tissue, which can cause vision loss or even blindness. If it is found early, you may be able to avoid further vision loss.
What do glaucoma symptoms look like?
The most commonly reported type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. There are no signs or symptoms, with the exception of slow vision loss. For this reason, it is necessary that you go to complete annual eye examinations therefore your ophthalmologist, or an eye doctor, may observe any changes in your vision.
Acute-angle closure glaucoma, which is also known by the name of narrow-angle glaucoma, is a medical condition. Consult your emergency physician if you experience any of these symptoms:
- serious pain in the eyes.
- redness in your eye
- unexpected visual disturbances.
- to see coloured rings around lights.
- suddenly blurred vision.
What are the causes of glaucoma?
The bottom of the eye constantly produces a light liquid called aqueous humor. As this liquid is made, it fills the front section of the eye. Next, it leaves your eye through canals into your cornea and iris. If these channels are blocked or partially obstructed, naturally occurring pressure in the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP), may increase. Your IOP increases and your optic nerve can become damaged. As your nerves become damaged, you could begin to lose sight of your eye.
What leads to increased pressure in your eyes is not always clear. But experts believe that one or more of these factors can play a role:
- dilator drops for the eyes.
- Eye drainage is blocked/restricted.
- medications, such as corticosteroids
- Blood flow to the optical nerve is low or decreased.
- high or raised levels of blood pressure.
What types of glaucoma do you find?
There are five common types of glaucoma. These include:
Open Angle (Chronic) Glaucoma
There are no signs or symptoms of open-angle or chronic glaucoma other than gradual vision loss. It can be too slow and your vision can be permanently damaged before more signs are seen. According the National Eye Institute (NEI), It’s the most commonly occurring type of glaucoma.
Angle-Closure (Acute) Glaucoma
If your aqueous humor liquid’s flow of water is suddenly blocked, Rapid accumulation of fluid can lead to serious, sudden and painful pressure increases. Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency situation. You should call your doctor as soon as possible if you start to notice symptoms, such as severe pain, nausea and blurry vision.
Infants born with congenital glaucoma have a defect in the corner of the eye, which retards or prevents normal drainage of fluid. Congenital glaucoma generally presents with symptoms, such as cloudy eyes, heavy tearing, or sensitivity to light. Congenital glaucoma can pass in families.
Secondary glaucoma is usually a side effect of injury or another eye condition, such as cataracts or eye tumors. Medicines, such as corticosteroids, may also cause this type of glaucoma. Rarely, eye surgery can lead to secondary glaucoma.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
In some cases, people without increased eye pressure have damage to their optic nerve. The cause of this isn’t clear. However, extreme sensitivity or a lowering of blood flow to your optic nerve may be a cause in this type of glaucoma.
Who Is at Risk of Glaucoma?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blind in the world. Glaucoma risk factors include the following:
Persons over 60 years of age have a higher risk of glaucoma, warns the NEI, and there is a gradual increase in the risk of glaucoma with each year of age. If you are African-American, your increased risk begins when you are 40 years old.
African Americans and persons of African ancestry are remarkably more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians. People of Asian ancestry have a greater chance of developing angle closure glaucoma, and people with Japanese ancestry are more likely to develop low tension glaucoma.
Chronic inflammation of the eyes and thin corneas may cause greater pressure in the eyes. Physical or traumatic injury to the eye, such as being struck by the eye, may also cause increased pressure within the eye.
Certain types of glaucoma can travel with your family. If your relative/grandparent had open-angle glaucoma, you are very much at risk of developing this disease.
Diabetics and high blood pressure patients. and cardiac diseases present a high risk for glaucoma.
Use of Certain Medicine
Long term period use of corticosteroids may increase your chance of developing secondary glaucoma.
What is the diagnosis of glaucoma?
To diagnose glaucoma, your eye doctor will need to perform a complete eye exam. They will check the signs of damage, including nervous tissue loss. It is also possible to use one or more of the following tests and procedures:
Detailed Medical History
Your doctor will ask about the symptoms you have experienced and have any personal or family history of glaucoma. They are also going to ask for a general health assessment to Find out if other health problems can affect your eye health like diabetes or hypertension.
It measures the internal pressure of the eye.
People suffering from thin corneas are more likely to develop glaucoma. A pachymetry test may tell your doctor if you have thinner-than-average corneas.
That test, also known as the visual field test, may indicate to your doctor whether glaucoma affects your vision by measuring your peripheral, or side, vision and the central vision.
Monitoring Your Optic Nerve
If your doctor wants to keep an eye on the slow changes in your optic nerve, Take photos of your optic nerve to make a side-by-side comparison with time.
What is the treatment of glaucoma?
The target for treating glaucoma is to decrease IOP to prevent further vision loss. Your doctor will normally begin using prescription eye drops. If they do not work or more advanced treatment is needed, your physician may recommend one of the following treatments:
Various medications developed to reduce IOP are available. These medications are available as eye drops or pills, but drops are most common. Your physician may recommend one or more combinations.
If a blocked or partially blocked channel causes the IPO to increase, your doctor may recommend surgical intervention to make a drainage for liquid or destroy tissues responsible for increasing fluid.
Closure angle glaucoma is treated differently. It is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment. to Lower the eye pressure as quickly as possible. Drugs are often tried first, to overturn the angle closure, However, this may not be successful. A laser procedure called iridotomy laser device can also be carried out. This procedure allows small holes to be made in the iris to allow more smooth fluid movement.
Will someone with glaucoma develop blindness?
If your high IOP can be switched off and the pressure has returned to normal, loss of vision may be slowed down or stopped. However, because there is no cure for glaucoma, you will likely need lifelong therapy to regulate or control your IOP. Unfortunately, vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be recovered.
How do you prevent glaucoma?
Glaucom cannot be prevented, but it’s always important to detect it early so you can start a treatment that will help keep it from getting worse. The best way to quickly identify any type of glaucoma is to have a yearly appointment for preventative eye care. Arrange to meet with an ophthalmologist. Simple tests conducted during these routine eye checks can be able to find damage caused by glaucoma before it becomes severe and begins to cause vision loss.