What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes irreversable damage to the optic nerve. If not treated it may lead to several problems including loss of vision. Usually, Glaucoma affects both the eyes but the extent of seriousness in each eye could vary.
How is glaucoma caused?
In front of our eyes, there is a small chamber type space called “anterior chamber” through which clear fluids flow cleaning the tissues in the process. Sometimes this fluid does not drain quickly as a result of which the fluids build up thereby increasing the pressure in the eyes. This increase in pressure, unless checked, might lead to permanent or temporary damage to the optic nerve. This condition wherein there is an increase in the pressure in the eyes due to slow drainage of fluid is known as Glaucoma.
Types of Glaucoma
- Open Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type of glaucoma and also the most harmful and difficult to detect as externally, the eyes appear normal but internally, the fluid in the eyes doesn’t flow properly. In this case, there is a gradual loss of vision, which in many cases goes unnoticed since medical attention is not received until severe damage has already been done in this case.
- Closed Angle Glaucoma: In this type of Glaucoma, the patient suffers from extreme pain and rapid vision loss. Due to the severe discomfort experienced by the patient, he gets immediate medical attention.
- Low Tension Glaucoma: In this type of Glaucoma, although there is no increase in the fluid pressure in the eye, there is still a case of Glaucoma because of over-sensitive optic nerves.
- Pigmentary Glaucoma: This is a type of Glaucoma which is contracted at a very young age. In this case, granules released from the back of the iris get displaced which hampers the functioning of the meshwork in front of eyes resulting in increased pressure and hence, Glaucoma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Though there may be several symptoms of Glaucoma, an illustrative list of symptoms is given below:
- Severe Eye Pain
- Blurred Vision
- Tunnel Vision
- Sudden vision problem especially in places with low lighting.
- Red Eyes
- Eye pain, usually followed by vomiting.
Factors affecting glaucoma risk
The various factors that increase the chances of a person contracting Glaucoma are as follows:
- Glaucoma can be hereditary, so if one’s parents have glaucoma, it increases one’s chances of getting it as well.
- A person above the age of 50.
- Having a history of serious eye injury
- A person who is on medication of steroids.
- Person suffering from diabetes.
- Being nearsighted
- A person suffering from high blood pressure.
- Persons who have undergone an eye surgery
Thus, it is advised that people who fall into one or more of the above listed categories should get their eyes checked up on a regular basis.
Typically a doctor starts with eye drops, which are quite effective in the initial stage. However, in certain cases the patients have to be operated upon. Trabeculectomy – wherein the doctor creates a new drainage path under the eyelid – is the most common surgical procedure for this.