What is Glaucoma?
The optic nerve’s health is essential for clear vision, and glaucoma is a collection of eye disorders that harm it. Unusually high pressure in your eye frequently results in this damage.
For those over 60, glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness. While it can happen at any age, older persons are more likely to experience it.
There are no symptoms in many cases of glaucoma. Because the effects are so gradual, you might not notice a change in your eyesight until the problem has progressed significantly.
Since glaucoma-related vision loss is irreversible, it’s critical to get routine eye exams that involve measurements of your eye pressure to make an early diagnosis and choose the best course of treatment. Vision loss can be delayed or avoided if glaucoma is diagnosed early. The majority of people who have the illness will require therapy for the rest of their lives ( by our best eye specialist, at Bharti Eye Foundation).
Causes of Glaucoma
Aqueous humor, the liquid that is inside your eye, normally exits the eye through a mesh-like tube. The liquid might build up if this route becomes clogged or the eye produces too much fluid. Sometimes, experts are unsure of what is causing this obstruction. However, it is heritable, which means that parents can pass it on to their offspring.
Chemical or traumatic eye damage, a serious eye infection, blocked blood vessels inside the eye, and inflammatory disorders are a few less common causes of glaucoma. It’s uncommon, but occasionally eye surgery to treat another condition can cause it. Usually, both eyes are affected, although sometimes one eye may be more severely affected.
Am I susceptible to glaucoma?
Although everybody can get glaucoma, some people are more susceptible. You’re more vulnerable if you:
- Are over 60, particularly if you identify as Hispanic or Latino
- Over 40 and of African American descent
- Have glaucoma in your family
Ask our best eye doctor how frequently you should have your eyes checked and discuss your glaucoma risk with them. Every one to two years, if you’re at higher risk, you should have a thorough dilated eye exam.
What Symptoms Indicate Glaucoma?
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most prevalent variety. Only a progressive loss of vision is the only symptom. For our ophthalmologist or eye specialist, to keep track of any changes in your vision, you must have full eye exams once a year.
Narrow-angle glaucoma often referred to as acute-angle closure glaucoma, is a medical emergency. If you encounter any of the following signs, consult a physician right away:
- Acute eye ache
- Vomiting, eye redness, and unexpected visual disturbances
- The perception of colorful circles surrounding lights
- Abrupt vision haze
Regular eye exams by ophthalmologists include a glaucoma test. Many diagnostic procedures are available to them:
Special light and magnifying lenses are used by the eye doctor to inspect the inside of the eye after placing drops in the eye to enlarge the pupil.
The doctor performs a visual field examination to evaluate the patient’s peripheral (side) vision. When the doctor sets a bright spot at various locations on the edge of the patient’s field of vision, they remain looking straight ahead. This aids in mapping out what the user can see.
A device that either contacts the cornea (applanation) or uses a puff of air to monitor the pressure in the eye is used by the doctor after applying eye drops to numb the eye.
After numbing the eyes using eye drops, the doctor applies a specific contact lens to the eye. A mirror built into the lens can be used to determine whether the angle between the iris and the cornea is normal, excessively broad (open), or inadequately narrow (closed).
The doctor uses a probe to assess the cornea’s thickness on the front of the eye. The doctor will consider this while evaluating all the results because corneal thickness might alter ocular pressure readings.
Reducing ocular pressure is the goal of glaucoma treatment. The most typical and frequent initial treatment is the regular use of prescription eye drops. Systemic drugs, laser therapy, or other types of surgery might be necessary for some circumstances. Even though glaucoma does not yet have a cure, early detection and ongoing treatment can help maintain vision.
Currently, glaucoma can be treated with a variety of drugs. Usually, drugs lower ocular pressure that has risen. It is possible to be prescribed a single drug or several drugs. If the drug isn’t lowering pressure enough or if the patient is having side effects, the type of drug may vary.
The tissue that produces the fluid in the eye can be destroyed, a drainage flap can be made in the eye, a drainage valve is inserted, or laser treatment can be used. When medicine is ineffective, all methods try to lower the pressure inside the eye. Vision loss cannot be cured by surgery.
Fluid drainage from the eye is aided with laser trabeculoplasty. The trabecular meshwork, which is the structure that drains fluid from the eye, is stimulated by a high-energy laser beam to facilitate fluid drainage more effectively. The process might need to be repeated later on because the results might only last a short while.
A trabeculectomy may be necessary for the patient if eye drops and laser eye surgery aren’t managing their eye pressure.
A drainage flap is produced by this filtering microsurgery. The fluid may then seep into the flap before draining into the vascular system.
For individuals with uncontrolled glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, or children with glaucoma, drainage valve implant surgery may be a possibility. To aid in the drainage of fluid, a tiny silicone tube is put in the eye.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma treatment
A medical emergency is acute angle-closure glaucoma. Those who are impacted might take medicine to lower their ocular pressure as soon as possible. They’ll probably also get a laser surgery called a laser peripheral iridotomy. In this operation, a laser beam enlarges a tiny hole in the iris to permit fluid to flow more freely into the front chamber of the eye where it can drain.
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