The World Glaucoma Week begins on March 12th and lasts up to March 18th. It has been initiated with a great motive of bringing awareness about glaucoma and alerting people to have regular eye check-ups. Glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness and bringing awareness about glaucoma can prevent blindness.
Many people who have glaucoma are not aware of the condition. As glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can slowly lead to vision loss. Hence, it is important to know about glaucoma, its causes, symptoms and how it is treated.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common eye problem that damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending visual information from the eyes to the brain. It is often caused by high pressure in the eyes. If the condition becomes worse over time, it can lead to complete vision loss within a few years. Hence, it is important to have regular eye check-ups so that the condition can be diagnosed and treated early.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Your eyes produce a fluid called aqueous humor and it flows through the pupil to the front of your eyes. The liquid also flows out of the eyes through the drainage canals. This process makes the intraocular pressure stable in the eyes. But if the drainage canals are damaged, fluid gets built up in the eyes. This can lead to excess pressure on your eyes and can further damage the optic nerve.
The exact reason for this condition is unknown. The following are some of the risk factors for developing glaucoma:
- Use of steroid medications
- Family history of glaucoma
- Health conditions such as hypertension, migraine, diabetes, sickle cell anaemia
- An injury to your eyes
- A thinner cornea
- Asian and african descents
- Hispanic heritage
- Near-sightedness and farsightedness
Common Types of Glaucoma and Their Signs
The following are the different types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma: It is the common type of glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma, the drainage canal remains normal but the fluid does not drain as the other parts of the drain system are not working well. Due to this, the fluid builds up and eye pressure increases slowly. Open-angle glaucoma does not show any signs and it may remain unnoticed for several years.
- Angle-closure glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when the space between the iris and cornea becomes narrow. As a result, the drainage canals get blocked and the fluid gets build-up in your eyes. The signs include a headache, severe eye pain, sudden blurry vision, nausea, etc.
- Normal-tension glaucoma: It is a condition where the optic nerve gets damaged even if the eye pressure is normal. The signs include blind spots in the vision. The exact reasons for this type of glaucoma are unknown.
- Congenital glaucoma: In some babies, the drainage canals may not develop properly while in the womb. The doctor notices the signs of glaucoma either during birth or as they grow. The symptoms include eyelid spasms, tearing, sensitivity to light, rubbing eyes frequently, and a larger cornea.
- Pigmentary glaucoma: In pigmentary glaucoma, tiny pigment granules from the iris block the draining of the fluid. This causes pressure in the eyes and damages the optic nerve. If you have pigmentary glaucoma, you may experience halos and blur vision after jogging.
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
The doctor will review your medical history and will conduct an eye exam. The doctor also conducts several tests such as:
- Tonometry: It is used to determine the intraocular pressure in your eyes
- Dilated eye exam: During this test, eye drops are used to widen your eyes and your optic nerve is examined
- Gonioscopy: It is used to determine the drainage angle where the iris and cornea meet
- Pachymetry: It is used to measure the thickness of the cornea
- Visual acuity test: It is used to check for vision loss
- Visual field test: It is used to test the regions of vision loss
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This test is used to look at the changes in the optic nerve
Different Treatment Options for Glaucoma
The damage caused by glaucoma to the optic nerve cannot be reversed. However, the treatment for glaucoma focuses on slowing the vision by reducing intraocular pressure. The treatment options include:
- Eye drops to either reduce fluid or to reduce pressure by improving the draining of fluid
- Oral medications can also be used to reduce fluid production or to improve the draining of the fluid
- Laser therapy is used if medications and eye drops do not help. Laser therapy focuses on improving the draining of fluid
- Surgery can also help reduce eye pressure. The type of surgery required is based on the type of glaucoma and its severity
Looking for Glaucoma Treatment? Meet Ophthalmologists at Think Eye Hospital Today
Think Eye Hospital is one of the best eye hospitals in Hyderabad. Our ophthalmologists have a combined experience of more than 35 years and operative experience of more than 35000 cases. We can treat all types of glaucoma and we offer our services through the latest in the technology. Our motive is to offer advanced eye care at the most affordable cost. To schedule an appointment, call us or drop us an email.