Glaucoma is a condition where the eye’s optic nerves are damaged because of raised pressure. Pressure rises in the eye when the liquid produced by a layer of cells behind the iris cannot drain away properly or if too much liquid is produced. When the pressure increases it places a strain on the optic nerve, causing damage. However, it can be easily treated and managed if caught on its early stage. Early detection is crucial to prevent potential sight loss and preserve the good vision.
There are 4 main types of glaucoma – the most widespread is chronic or open-angle glaucoma. It is caused by gradual clogging of the drainage canals that creates eye pressure.
Acute or angle-closure glaucoma occurs suddenly when there is a complete blockage of the fluid and this can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve if it is left untreated.
Other types of glaucoma include secondary glaucoma, which occurs when the rise in pressure in the eye is due to another eye condition. Lastly, developmental or congenital glaucoma is a condition that affects some babies and is caused by malformation in the eye.
Many people will not experience any symptoms and their sight may seem perfectly normal. This is why it is important to have regular eye tests to check for glaucoma, especially as you get older. Some people find that their vision in one eye starts to deteriorate. As the glaucoma worsens their center of vision is the last to be affected resulting in so-called tunnel-vision. For acute glaucoma cases, a sudden painful attack can be experienced when the fluid in the eye becomes completely blocked. There may also be nausea and vomiting.
Treatments are effective when the condition has been caught in the early stages. The OCT Cirrus is an efficient system used to detect early stages of glaucoma. All treatments reduce the pressure in the eye and can consist of eye drops, tablets, laser treatment or surgery.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is clinically proven to treat glaucoma by safely and effectively reducing intraocular pressure in a single, office procedure.
For chronic glaucoma, eye drops are usually prescribed to reduce the amount of liquid in the eye and improve drainage. It is imperative that patients continue to use the eye drops even if their vision seems good. A patient’s sight may appear normal but it could be getting worse without them noticing.
Acute glaucoma needs immediate treatment in a hospital. Drugs will be given to reduce the pain and pressure. Laser treatment or minor surgery might be needed.
The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age. Five percent of people aged over 65 years have glaucoma. The condition can affect babies and younger people on rare cases. Some studies have shown that people with diabetes are also more likely to develop glaucoma. If you or a family member has glaucoma, it is important to have regular eye tests. Eye tests are not only important to detect the condition early, but to ensure the condition is controlled once it is diagnosed.
Ebsaar Eye Surgery Center, one of the leading Laser Eye Surgery Specialists in the region.