Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

  • Glaucoma is a disease of the major nerve of vision, called the optic nerve. The optic nerve receives light-generated nerve impulses from the retina and transmits these to the brain, where we recognize those electrical signals as vision.
  • Glaucoma is characterized by a particular pattern of progressive damage to the optic nerve that generally begins with a subtle loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can progress to loss of central vision and blindness.
  • Glaucoma is usually, but not always, associated with elevated pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). Generally, it is this elevated eye pressure that leads to damage of the eye (optic) nerve. In some cases, glaucoma may occur in the presence of normal eye pressure. This form of glaucoma is believed to be caused by poor regulation of blood flow to the optic nerve.

How is Glaucoma Caused?

  • It’s the result of high fluid pressure inside your eye. This happens when the liquid in the front part of the eye doesn’t circulate the way it should.
  • Normally, the fluid, called aqueous humor, flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel gets blocked, the liquid builds up. That’s what causes glaucoma. The reason for the blockage is unknown, but doctors do know it can be inherited, meaning it’s passed from parents to children.
  • Less common causes include a blunt or chemical injury to your eye, severe eye infection, blocked blood vessels inside the eye, and inflammatory conditions. It’s rare, but sometimes eye surgery to correct another condition can bring it on. It usually affects both eyes, but it may be worse in one than the other.

Who is at Risk Glaucoma?

Some people have a higher than normal risk of getting glaucoma. This includes people who:

  • Are over age 40
  • Have family members with glaucoma
  • Are of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
  • Have high eye pressure
  • Are farsighted or near-sighted
  • Have had an eye injury
  • Use long-term steroid medications
  • Have corneas that are thin in the centre
  • Have thinning of the optic nerve
  • Have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body

What are the signs and symptoms of Glaucoma?

The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage of your condition. For example:

Open-angle glaucoma

  • Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
  • Tunnel vision in the advanced stages

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

  • Severe headache
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Eye redness

If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Even with treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind in at least one eye within 20 years.

What kind of the treatment & benefit for Glaucoma?

Treatment for open-angle glaucoma are:

  • Medication (long term)
  • Surgery or laser (improve drainage)

Treatment for acute angle-clousure glaucoma are:

  • Laser (enhance the drainage)

How to Prevent Glaucoma?

  • Regular, dilated eye examination.
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle.
  • Know your family’s eye health history.
  • Apply the prescribed glaucoma eye drops regularly.
  • Wear safety eye wear during sports or hazardous activities.

Kindly contact our Eye Specialist Centre if you wish to find out more about glaucoma or to consult any of our Ophthalmologist