Glaucoma

 

Glaucoma is a slowly progressive visual loss due to the damage of optic nerve - the part responsible for carrying images to brain. This process is usually due to rise of intraocular pressure that causes irreversible damage to optic nerve fibre bundles leading to a complete blindness if not detected and treated early.

When should one go for a check up for Glaucoma?

  • If it runs in your family.
  • If you have high plus or minus power.
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • If you had eye injury in the past.
  • If you see colour halos around light.
  • If you have to change your near vision glasses frequently.
  • If you use steroids for a long time.

Types and symptoms of glaucoma :

Two types are found :-

Chronic open - angle glaucoma : This is the commonest type. The risk increases with age. The drainage angle of the eye becomes less efficient over time, thereby increases pressure within eye, which can damage optic nerve. Typically it has no symptoms in its early stages and vision remains normal. As the disease advances, blank spots begin to appear in your field of vision, gradually becomes larger, optic nerve fibres die and eventually blindness results.

Closed - angle glaucoma : Here the angle of the eye is too narrow to drain the fluid inside the eye properly. Symptoms may include blurred visionpe is treated quickly blindness can result. But this type of glaucoma develop slowly without any symptom prior to and acute attack.

What can you expect during your checkups?

Regular eye examinations usually include a combination of the following tests to determine if damage of optic nerve is increasing overtime.

  • Tonometry - To measure intraocular pressure.
  • Pachymetry - To determine Centre Corneal Thickness.
  • Gonioscopy - To evaluate the drainage angle.
  • Indirect Ophthalmoscopy - To evaluate optic nerve damage.
  • Perimetry - To determine the visual field loss.
  • OCT - To determine Optic nerve head & RNFL analysis.

How Glaucoma is treated?

In early stage glaucoma is treated with anti-glaucoma eye drops. Various anti-glaucoma eye drops are now available in the market. Periodic checkups at regular interval should be done to evaluate progression of the disease. However, in uncontrolled glaucoma one should go for filtration surgery to make a bypass for the drainage of intraocular fluid. In some instances, laser surgery treatment may be recommended.

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