Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve (nerve that carries information from our eyes to the brain) gets damaged usually due to raised pressure inside our eyes. What makes glaucoma dreadful among many other eye diseases is its covertness. By the time people realize that they are losing vision, most of the damage has already been caused. In most cases the optic nerve is damaged when the intraocular pressure inside the front of the eye rises. Glaucoma related eye damage can also occur when the intraocular pressure is normal. In most cases the optic nerve is damaged when the intraocular pressure inside the front of the eye rises. Glaucoma related eye damage can also occur when the intraocular pressure is normal. According to WHO statistics, the prevalence of glaucoma in India is 2.6%.
The most common types of glaucoma are “primary open-angle glaucoma” and “acute/angle closure glaucoma”. In “primary open-angle glaucoma” the fluid circulates freely in the eye with a slow rise in intraocular pressure over-time. “Acute angle glaucoma” is a less common form of glaucoma. It develops suddenly, causing eye-pain and redness.
The exact causes for optic nerve damage from glaucoma are unknown; it involves mechanical compression and/or decreased blood flow of the optic nerve. Although high eye pressure sometimes leads to glaucoma, many people can develop glaucoma with “normal” eye pressure. The cause of secondary glaucoma is unknown. However, both “open-angle glaucoma” and “closed-angle glaucoma” can be a secondary cause due to:
Although “open-angle glaucoma” and “acute-angle glaucoma” cause blindness the symptoms are different. Symptoms of “open-angle glaucoma” are the following:
Symptoms in angle-closure glaucoma are inconsistent; they may come and go or steadily become worse.
Diagnosis of glaucoma happens with different tests depending on the severity of the symptoms. Tests may include:
Open angle glaucoma is un-preventable as most people do not show any signs/symptoms. However, vision loss can be prevented by
Glaucoma can be treated with medication, eye drops, laser surgery, drainage implants or filtering surgery (trabeculectomy). Prognosis is dependent on the type of glaucoma, and the goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss due to glaucoma is irreversible.
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