Its types, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
Things you need to know about Glaucoma
What is Glaucoma?
The optic nerve is an important part of the eye which is vital to good vision. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve and is one of the leading causes of blindness in older adults. An abnormally high pressure known as the intraocular pressure in the eye is the primary reason for this eye damage.
What are the types of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma may be of the following types:
- Angle-closure glaucoma
- Normal-tension glaucoma
- Open-angle glaucoma
- Pigmentary glaucoma
What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
Although the signs and symptoms may vary, some of the common ones are:
- Appearance of patchy blind spots in vision of both eyes
- Tunneled vision when condition is advanced
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Blurred of vision
- Halos around lights
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye pain
- Redness of eye
- Severe headache
There are very few warning signs of open-angle glaucoma leading to permanent damage. Hence, regular eye exams hold a vital key in identifying glaucoma early.
- If you are 40 years or older, get an eye examination every four years in absence of any glaucoma risk factors and every two years if you are at risk.
- If you are 65 years or older, get an eye examination every two years.
What are the causes of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused due to damage to the optic nerve, which is related to increased pressure in the eye.
The aqueous humor flows throughout the eyes for nourishment. When the aqueous humor flows in large quantities and its draining-out is affected, the fluid build-up ensues which in turn increases the pressure in the eyes.
Glaucoma, when left untreated, can progress to cause vision loss or blindness due to damage to blood vessels and nerves supplying to eyes.
What are the risk factors for Glaucoma?
Some of the common risk factors for glaucoma include:
- High internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure)
- Age > 60 years
- A positive family history of Glaucoma
- Presence of medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
- Eye conditions like nearsightedness
- A history of eye injury or eye surgery
Medications, especially steroid-containing eye drops, for a long time
How is Glaucoma diagnosed?
If you have any of the risk factors for Glaucoma, seek an opinion of an Ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose Glaucoma by:
- Medical history
- Comprehensive eye examination
- Special tests like:
- – Gonioscopy to evaluate internal drainage system
- – Pachymetryto measure thickness of cornea
- – Testing for optic nerve damage
- – Tonometry to measure intraocular pressure
- – Visual field test
What is the treatment for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma and its damage can’t be reversed. The objective of regular checkups and treatment is to help in slowing down or prevention of vision loss. The treatment aims at reducing the pressure in your eye and may consist of:
- Medications in the form of eyedrops
- Medications to be taken orally
- Surgery and other therapies
- Laser therapy: Laser trabeculoplasty for open-angle glaucoma
- Filtering surgery: Trabeculectomy
- Glaucoma drainage device and tubeshunt surgery
- Electrocautery with a small electrocautery device known as Trabecutome
- Laser peripheral iridotomy
Treatment of acute angle-closure glaucoma
It is a medical emergency requiring urgent treatment to reduce the pressure in your eye with both medication and surgical procedures.
What lifestyle changes can be adopted when diagnosed with Glaucoma?
When diagnosed with Glaucoma, certain lifestyle changes can help to control high eye pressure and for overall health.
- Eat a healthy diet for adequate nutrients
- Engage in safe exercises, consult your Ophthalmologist about the exercises that can cause an increased eye pressure
- Limit consumption of caffeine
- Don’t consume high amounts of fluids at a time
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping can help in reducing eye pressure
- Don’t miss follow-ups with your ophthalmologist and do not miss your prescribed medications
To know more about Glaucoma, you can request a callback and our glaucoma specialist will call you and answer all your queries.
Related blogs you may like to read:
- Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839 Accessed on March 7, 2018.
- National Eye Institute. Glaucoma. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/glaucoma Accessed on March 7, 2018.
- American Academy of Glaucoma. What Is Glaucoma. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma Accessed on March 7, 2018.