Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness all over the world. It is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. Located in the back of our eye, this nerve is responsible for sending visual signals from the retina of our eye to the brain. So, any damage to this nerve will this process and our brain will not be able to receive the proper visual information it requires to form the image. If not treated on time, continued damage can lead to permanent loss of vision.
Many cases of Glaucoma are caused by higher pressure inside the eye, but this is not the only factor. Decrease in blood flow inside the optic nerve and high blood pressure are also known to be the cause of said disease. Furthermore, recent studies have also linked low pressure around the brain; intracranial pressure to Glaucoma.
The two main types of Glaucoma are:
- Open-angle glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the most common type of Glaucoma and goes by the name of wide-angle Glaucoma among doctors. In this type of Glaucoma, the drain structure of our eye, known as the trabecular meshwork, becomes faulty and hence fluids don’t properly flow out. As a result, the pressure within our eye increases and damages the optic nerve.
- Angle-closure glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma, the angle between the iris and the cornea of your eye; the drainage angle, becomes too narrow. This leads to increased pressure inside your eye. This type of Glaucoma is common in Asia and is also known as acute/chronic angle-closure as well as narrow-angle glaucoma can be extremely painful and calls for immediate medical help. Otherwise, the patient can permanently lose their eyesight.
- Risk Factors
There are a lot of factors that contribute to increasing the risks of Glaucoma. Some of these are
- Family history
- Poor vision
- Thin corneas
- Steroid medications
- Eye injury
- High blood pressure
- Heart diseases
- Increased eye pressure
- Near-sightedness or farsightedness
One of the most unfortunate things about Glaucoma is that its symptoms are either not prominent or even if they are, they appear when most of the damage has already been done. It is because of this reason that glaucoma also goes by “sneak thief of vision”.
The main symptom is gradual loss of side vision. Other than that, seek medical attention as soon as you start noticing any of the following;
- Seeing halos around lights
- Vision loss
- Redness in your eye
- Eye that looks hazy (particularly in infants)
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Eye pain
Once detected, Glaucoma is treated through 3 major ways.
- Eye Drops
Prescribed eye drops you can either decrease the production of the fluid or increase drainage. Unfortunately, most of the eye drops come with side effects such as redness, blurred vision, and irritation.
- Oral medication.
Oral medication cures Glaucoma the same way eye drops do but without the disadvantage of side effects.
- Laser surgery.
In case of open-angle glaucoma, surgery can help increase the flow of fluid whereas in case of angle-closure glaucoma it prevents the fluid from getting blocked.