Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the pressure inside the eye (intra ocular pressure/ IOP) rises gradually weakening the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve responsible for vision thus once it is weakened it would lead to the gradual loss of vision and sometimes total blindness.
The pressure in the eye is maintained by a fluid called aqueous humour. This fluid is produced inside the eye(these are not tears) and drains through fine channels. If these drainage channels are blocked or the eye produces too much of this fluid then the pressure of the eye rises.
Few common FAQs’
What should I keep in my mind?
- Glaucoma cannot be cured only controlled. Appropriate treatment and regular follow up can preserve residual vision from further damage.
- Early detection and treatment of glaucoma before it causes significant vision loss is the ideal way to control the disease.
- Anyone who is above the age of 40 should get examined periodically for glaucoma.
- Glaucoma is not an infectious disease but may be hereditary. So, if anyone in the family has glaucoma it is advisable.
- Periodic eye check up is mandatory for someone who has been diagnosed with glaucoma.
What are the different types of Glaucoma?
Varieties of Glaucoma are :-
- Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG): Progresses slowly with gradual loss of vision. Patient is often unaware as the straight ahead vision and reading vision might remain unaffected initially. Some patients have POAG but have normal eye pressure this is called as Normal Tension Glaucoma. This type of glaucoma responds well to treatment with anti-glaucoma eye drops. If they fail, surgery to reduce eye pressure may be necessary.
- Angle Closure Glaucoma(ACG): An acute angle closure attack of the eye may present with decreased vision, haloes around lights, eyeache, headache, nausea and/or vomiting. The initial intraocular pressure is reduced by medical treatment, laser treatment(Peripheral Iridotomy/PI) is done. If these fail then surgery is necessary. A laser treatment in the fellow eye is done to prevent the chance of similar attack.
- Congenital Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is rare and occurs at birth or soon after. Enlargement of the eyes, watering, unusual sensitivity to light or haziness. Surgical treatment is the only intervention and should be done as early as possible.
- Secondary Glaucoma: which develops due to systemic diseases like prolonged diabetes, complicated high blood pressure, thyroid disease, bleeding disorders etc? It may also occur as a complication of associated eye disorders such as vascular blocks, bleeding inside the eye, uveitis, swollen lens, blunt injury to the eye, etc.
What are the symptoms that eye is affected?
Persons above the age of 40, as well as person with myopia, diabetes, hypertension, on steroid, etc and individuals with a family history of glaucoma may be affected.
So if you:
- Frequently change your reading glasses.
- Frequently have headaches, eye aches, heaviness of eyes
- Are seeing coloured haloes around bulbs
- Have dimness of vision specially in dim illumination or decrease of side vision
Know a baby suffering from watering of the eye, prominent eye ball, haziness and difficulty of looking towards the light.