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Glaucoma

Written by Abhishek & Moderated by Dr Anuradha Totey


Intraocular pressure (IOP)/ Intraocular tension is the fluid pressure inside the eye. This fluid helps to maintain the eyeball shape. Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders, it is characterised by high intraocular pressure (IOP) that damages the optic nerve. It is an asymptomatic condition of the eye where the IOP is more than normal. Take care of your IOP is more than 20 mm of Hg. IOP is not the only criteria, many other factors need to be taken into consideration to label glaucoma. There are two main types of glaucoma. In angle-closure glaucoma, the patient experiences pain and redness so he tries to get help but in open-angle glaucoma, the patient has no symptoms so he is not aware that he has some problem. The best thing for the patient to do is to have regular eye check-up so that if he has glaucoma, it is detected at the earliest and because of timely treatment, further deterioration of vision is halted. The other type of glaucoma is secondary glaucoma.


Glaucoma refers to a group of the disease characterized by:-

  • Optic neuropathy

  • The specific pattern of visual field defect

  • Raised intraocular pressure


Glaucoma is often called the silent thief of sight because most patients don't know that they have the disease until they have experienced the loss of visual fields (tunnel vision). And the patient may not check the eye from the medical services until the person experiences blurred vision or loss of peripheral vision, difficulty focusing, halos around lights, difficulty adjusting eyes in low lighting, aching or discomfort around the eyes, and headache.


Glaucoma may occur as primary or congenital disease or secondary to other causes, such as injury, infection, surgery, or prolonged use of corticosteroids.


Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible visual deficiency in the world and is the leading cause of visual impairment among adults. Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant visual field loss, which can progress to blindness.


Risk factors

  • Age

  • Family history of glaucoma

  • Medical conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease

  • Eye trauma

  • Prolonged use of Corticosteroids

  • Eye abnormalities like the thin cornea

  • Near-sightedness (Myopia)

Symptoms

  • Mild headache and ocular pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Enlarge eyeball

  • Halos around light

  • Photophobia

  • Lacrimation

  • Blepharospasm (episodic closure of the eyelids)

Precautions

  • Know your family’s eye health history: Glaucoma tends to run in families.

  • Take prescribed eye drops regularly: Glaucoma eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high eye pressure may progress to loss of vision.

  • Get regular dilated eye examinations: Regular comprehensive eye examinations can help to detect glaucoma in its early stages before significant damage occurs.

  • Exercise: Regular exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure.

  • Follow up: Regular follow up is a must to know the progress of the disease.


Treatment


The treatment of glaucoma depends upon the nature and severity of each case. Lifelong therapy is quite often necessary because glaucoma cannot be cured. In spite of the fact that treatment can't reverse optic nerve damage, further damage can be controlled. The treatment objective is to keep the IOP within a range unlikely to cause additional damage. At the point when medications are picked, eye drops are generally prescribed. Some of the drops need just be utilized once every day while some require twice or three times each day dosing. Some patients who don’t respond to drug therapy may benefit from argon laser trabeculoplasty or from a surgical filtering procedure called a trabeculectomy.


What's the treatment for glaucoma?

  • Medicines: Antiglaucoma eye drops are the most common treatment.

  • Laser treatment: To lower pressure in your eye, lasers can be used to help the fluid drain out of your eye.

  • Surgery: If medicines and laser treatment don't work, your doctor might suggest surgery.

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