GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye's optic nerve and gets worse over time. It's often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.

The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain.

If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision.

Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.

Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to see your eye doctor regularly so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.

If you are over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of glaucoma, you should have a complete eye exam with an eye doctor every one to two years.

If you have health problems such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma or are at risk for other eye diseases, you may need to visit your eye doctor more frequently.

TYPES

Open Angle Glaucoma
This is the most common form and it is painless. Vision remains normal till the advanced stage. Hence it often goes unnoticed by the patient. The eyeball’s drainage system slowly becomes less effective leading to high Intra ocular pressure.

Closed Angle Glaucoma
In this type the eyeball’s drainage system physically closes up leading to high internal pressure. This can be painful especially if it occurs suddenly.

Normal Tension Glaucoma
In few people the optic nerve is so weak that it gets damaged with the normal eye pressure. This type of glaucoma is also painless.

Other types
Diabetes, Trauma, Short sight (myopia), long sight (hypermetropia), steroids, cataracts, inflammation, eye surgery etc can also cause glaucoma. At times children may be born with this condition.

GLAUCOMA SUSPECTS
Some patients may have high eye pressure without any detectable nerve damage. Others have weak looking nerves but no definite loss of function. These patients need regular monitoring.

INVESTIGATIONS

Recording of Intra Ocular Pressure



Gonioscopy – To find out the status of the drainage system


















Increase in size of the cup can be an indication of Glaucoma.




Computerized visual field test.

High resolution imaging of the Optic nerve. eg: OCT

Glaucoma is a lifelong disease. Once diagnosed the patient requires strict follow-up with the eye doctor. The treatment is mainly focused on lowering the eye ball pressure by one or more of the following methods:

Eye drops – Eye drops work in a number of ways, but mostly by lowering your eyeball pressure

Laser treatment -

Laser can be used to treat certain types of glaucoma. It is also used to prevent the acute form of glaucoma in some patients.

Surgery -

Eye surgery is always a last resort when the above methods do not stop the damage of optic nerve.
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to prevent further damage to the optic nerve and to preserve the remaining vision.



Unfortunately glaucoma is not a preventable disease. The best way to combat it is to detect it early especially if you belong to high risk groups

Age > 40 years

Family History

Steroid use

Diabetes Mellitus

high blood pressure

Eye trauma

high refractive error

Regular eye checkup can detect glaucoma at a very early stage and hence prevent it from stealing your vision.

Glaucoma often is called the "silent thief of sight," because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.

Glaucoma can present with one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Pain and redness
  • Headache
  • Colour haloes (rings) around lights
  • Frequent change in glass power

Glaucoma causes irreversible loss of vision. Hence a regular eye check up and early detection and treatment is important.

Though Glaucoma can affect anyone, individuals with risk factors have more chance to get it.

glaucoma can affect any age group including new born babies and children. Babies with large looking eyes and having constant watering and aversion to bright light should have an eye check up.