Glaucoma is a disease that causes impairment to the eye's optic nerve. It causes vision loss. This damage is mostly caused because of abnormally high pressure in the eye.
Glaucoma affects the vision in many ways. Glaucoma shrinks the overall vision so that the side vision starts decreasing. As a result, the ability to adapt from dark to light and light to darkness reduces. It decreases your ability to see contrasts. The person becomes more sensitive to light.
Glaucoma is one of the significant causes of blindness for people above the age of 60. It is common in older adults but can happen at any age. The loss of vision due to glaucoma cannot be recovered. It becomes crucial to have regular eye check-ups like measurements of your eye pressure so that diagnosis can be made in its early stages and treated appropriately.
What Causes Glaucoma?
It's the result of the natural deterioration of the optic nerve, which leads to high fluid pressure on the front part of the eye.
The back of the eye continuously makes a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid fills the front part of your eye as it is made. It then leaves the eye through channels in iris and cornea. The natural pressure in your eye called the intraocular pressure (IOP) might increase if these channels are blocked or partially obstructed. With the increase in IOP, the optic nerve may get damaged. As damage to the nerve progresses, the sight in your eye gradually reduces.
The reason for the increase in pressure in the eye isn't always known. However, as per doctors, it can be restricted drainage in your eye, dilating eye drops, medications such as corticosteroids, high blood pressure, reduced blood flow to your optic nerve.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
The common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle or chronic glaucoma. The usual symptom of this is gradual vision loss. As there are no other signs or symptoms, it becomes crucial to go to yearly comprehensive eye check-ups. This will help in monitoring any change in the vision of the eyes.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. The symptoms of acute-angled glaucoma are sudden vision disturbances, vomiting, severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye.
Types of Glaucoma
- Open-Angle or Chronic Glaucoma
Open-angle or chronic glaucoma has no symptoms or signs except gradual vision loss. It happens so slowly that the vision of the eye is lost before the problem is realized.
This type of glaucoma happens if the flow of aqueous humor fluid is suddenly blocked. The rapid buildup of fluid causes a quick, severe, and painful increase in pressure.
- Acute Angle-closure glaucoma may occur suddenly. It is considered a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. (acute angle-closure glaucoma) or gradually (chronic angle-closure glaucoma).
- Congenital Glaucoma
Congenital glaucoma is common in children. Children born with congenital glaucoma are diagnosed with a defect in the angle of their eye. The common symptoms of Congenital glaucoma are excessive tearing, cloudy eyes, or sensitivity to light.
- Secondary Glaucoma
Secondary glaucoma is usually a side effect of injury or another eye condition, such as eye tumors, or cataracts.
In normal-tension glaucoma, your optic nerve becomes damaged even though your eye pressure is within the normal range. No one knows the exact reason for this.
Treatment for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is treated by the doctor using prescribed eye-drops, laser surgery, or microsurgery to lower down the pressure in the eyes.
Eye drops can help in reducing the pressure in the eyes by reducing the formation of fluid in the eyes. There are side effects associated with it, like redness, allergies, etc.
Laser surgery or microsurgery involves procedures like Trabeculoplasty, Iridotomy, Trabeculectomy, etc.