Treatment of Glaucoma and Protecting Your Eyesight

March 6, 2023

There is an optic nerve attached to your eyeball that is linked to the brain. It is like a cable that transmits light signals to the brain in order for you to see. But when the nerve is damaged due to the fluids building up in the front part of the eye — which causes increased pressure — you are at risk of glaucoma. If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to central vision loss and blindness.

The amount of pressure your optic nerve can bear determines whether you develop glaucoma, and this quantity varies for each individual. Glaucoma may affect people of all races and genders. Although it is more common as people get older, around 60 years old and above.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two primary types of glaucoma, and each of these is broken down into several additional types. 

  1. Primary open-angle glaucoma

Many people with primary open-angle glaucoma will not show any symptoms until they start losing their vision, and vision loss may not be noticed straight away. This condition happens when the optic is damaged by an open anterior chamber angle and a normal or occasionally high intraocular pressure (IOP).

Normal-tension glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma that affects patients who have normal ocular pressure. It affects around one-third of people with open-angle glaucoma. This eye condition is an urgent yet unusual dramatic symptomatic occurrence with headache, nausea, vomiting, painful red eyes, and blurred vision.

Angle-closure glaucoma — also known as narrow-angle or acute glaucoma — is a life-threatening medical condition where the eye pressure typically rises very quickly. When the pupil dilates too quickly or too much, the outer edge of the iris gathers over the drainage canals. Hence, the iris is not as wide and open as it should be. This may happen when entering a dark room.

Congenital glaucoma is a kind of glaucoma in which some newborns are born with it. In developed countries, about one out of every 10,000 newborns are born with an eye abnormality that prevents fluid from flowing correctly. The symptoms may show excessive tearing, light sensitivity and a large, cloudy cornea.

     2. Secondary glaucoma

Neovascular glaucoma develops when the eye produces additional blood vessels that cover the area of the eye where fluid usually drains. The fluid in the eye cannot leave through the drainage canals because of the new blood vessels, which raises eye pressure.  This is often caused by other medical issues, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Pigment dispersion syndrome occurs when the color in your iris peels off. The loose pigment may prevent fluid from draining out of your eye — aqueous humor trapped at the back of the iris — which can raise the eye pressure and lead to pigmentary glaucoma that damages the optic nerve.

Exfoliation glaucoma is a type of open-angle glaucoma that develops in certain people who have exfoliation syndrome — a disease in which excess material detaches from areas of the eye and prevents fluid from draining. When flaky materials peel off the outer layer of the lens and accumulate in between the cornea and iris, it clogs the drainage system of the eyes and causes rise in eye pressure.

While uveitic glaucoma is when a person suffers from inflammation in the eye such as irritation and swelling. When the structure of the eyes is inflamed, it disrupts fluid drainage and caused increased fluid pressure. And about 2 in 10 people with inflammation in the eye will develop uveitic glaucoma.

 

Symptoms of Glaucoma

It takes years for glaucoma to develop and will affect your peripheral vision first. But usually, it shows no symptoms at all when it first develops. This is why many people are unaware they have glaucoma.

There are two common symptoms that can often be detected after having an eye exam:

  1. Acute angle-closure glaucoma

The eyes will appear red and the pupil of the eye will look big and will not change its size when light is pointed towards it. The cornea may also appear cloudy to the naked eye. During the exam, the eye specialist may discover a person with glaucoma has reduced visual acuity, corneal swelling, increased intraocular pressure, and a blocked drainage angle.

    2. Open-angle glaucoma

When looking in the mirror or being seen by other people, the eyes of patients with open-angle glaucoma or chronic angle-closure glaucoma may seem normal. Although it is pain-free and presents no symptoms, an eye exam is still necessary. While being examined by the ophthalmologist, they may notice high intraocular pressure, optic nerve abnormalities, or visual field loss in addition to other less common signs.

Treatment of Glaucoma

Although any vision loss that occurred before glaucoma was detected cannot be reversed, treatment can help keep the vision from deteriorating. The treatment for glaucoma will be determined by the type of glaucoma a person has, and they have several options on how to treat their condition.

Putting prescribed eye drops on a regular basis will generally be able to manage your eye pressure. It is claimed to be the safest approach so far for glaucoma treatment. But if the eye drops are not effective, the doctor may prescribe you pills instead. You will have to take them 2 to 4 times per day in most situations. 

As for the surgical option, it is only recommended when previous treatments have failed to provide the outcome patients were hoping for. Basically, there are two types of surgery that are commonly used to treat glaucoma – traditional glaucoma surgery and laser eye surgery. Glaucoma laser therapy has been increasingly popular in recent years, offering a bridge between medication-based glaucoma treatment and conventional surgery. The laser beam will be able to correct the eye’s drainage system. 

Final Say

Glaucoma is a common eye problem that affects people as they age. You can visit VISTA Eye Specialist Centre to have a glaucoma check-up. All of our eye specialists are qualified and highly experienced in performing glaucoma check-up procedures.

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