Glaucoma- Its Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve and the damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people above the age of 60. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults. Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Once vision is lost, it cannot be recovered, so regular eye exams are very important. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented.
- The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage
- Open-angle glaucoma
- Patchy blind spots on side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
- Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye redness
Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve. As this nerve gradually deteriorates, blind spots develop in the visual field. Glaucoma is often genetic.
Types of glaucoma include :
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. The drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris remains open, but the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked. This causes pressure in the eye to gradually increase. This pressure damages the optic nerve. It happens very slowly and one may lose vision even before knowing.
Angle-closure glaucoma, also called closed-angle glaucoma, occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. As a result, fluid can't circulate through the eye and pressure increases.
In normal-tension glaucoma, the optic nerve becomes damaged even though the eye pressure is within the normal range. Exact reason is not known.
Glaucoma in children
It's possible for infants and children to have glaucoma. It can be from birth or can develop in the first few years of life. The optic nerve damage can be caused by drainage blockages or any underlying medical condition.
In pigmentary glaucoma, pigment granules from iris build up in the drainage channels, slowing or blocking fluid exiting the eye. Activities such as jogging sometimes stir up the pigment granules, depositing them on the trabecular meshwork and causing intermittent pressure elevations.
Since chronic glaucoma can destroy vision before any signs or symptoms are apparent, be aware of the risk factors:
- High internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure)
- Age above 60
- Family history of glaucoma
- Certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anaemia
- Corneas with thin centre
- Extreme near-sightedness or farsightedness
- Any eye injury or any types of eye surgery
- Taking corticosteroid medications, especially eye drops, for a long time
These self-care steps can help detect glaucoma in its early stages
- Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages
- Knowing family health history as glaucoma is mostly genetic
- Regular moderate exercise can help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure.
- Eye Drops prescribed by a doctor need to be used regularly even if there are no symptoms.
- Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Wear eye protecting gears while working with power tools or playing high-speed racket sports.
Glaucoma treatment generally starts with eyedrops. These helps decrease eye pressure by improving fluid drainage
Beta blockers - These reduce the production of fluid in the eye, thereby lowering the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure).
Since some of the eye drop medicine gets absorbed into the bloodstream, one may experience some side effects unrelated to eyes.
If eye drops alone can’t bring eye pressure down to the desired level, doctors may also prescribe oral medication.
Surgery and other therapies
Other treatment options are LASER therapy and various surgical procedures.
LASER therapy -
LASER trabeculoplasty is an option for open-angle glaucoma. It is a quick, safe and affordable option to treat glaucoma. It takes a few weeks before the full effect of this procedure becomes effective.
With the surgical procedure called a trabeculectomy the surgeon creates an opening in the white of the eye (sclera) and removes part of the trabecular meshwork.
Drainage tubes -
In this procedure, the eye surgeon inserts a small tube shunt in the eye to drain away excess fluid to lower eye pressure.
Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) –
The doctor may suggest a MIGS procedure to lower eye pressure. These procedures generally require less immediate postoperative care and have less risk than trabeculectomy or installing a drainage device and are often combined with cataract surgery.
Treatment for Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma -
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment to reduce the pressure in the eye. This generally requires both medication and YAG LASER IRIDOTOMY or other surgical procedures.
Activities to be avoided –
Drinking a lot of water at one time or doing Yoga postures which involve bringing the head under the waist level cause increase in pressure of the eye and worsen glaucoma. These should be avoided.
Aakash Healthcare, Department of Ophthalmology & Refractive Surgery has best eye surgeons in Delhi NCR/Dwarka and provides comprehensive care for eyes. The team has the bandwidth to diagnose and treat various eye conditions every day, including many that are rare or complex. The most affordable treatment plan is available in the hospital that provides a full range of eye care, starting from routine eye exams to complex surgery.
If you or any one of your family members is suffering from Glaucoma and looking for the best eye hospital in Delhi, make an appointment today at Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital in get consulted by some of the best eye specialists in Delhi. We are known to provide best glaucoma treatment in Delhi.
Dr. Prashaant Chaudhry
Senior Consultant & HOD
Ophthalmology and Refractive surgery