Glaucoma is a general term used to describe a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve. It’s the most common form of optic nerve damage leading to vision loss. In most cases, fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. This extra fluid puts pressure on the eye, gradually damaging the optic nerve. This pressure is known as intraocular pressure (IOP), or eye pressure. Some people have normal eye pressure and still get glaucoma. Untreated or under-managed glaucoma can lead to permanent and irreversible vision loss and blindness.
This extra fluid puts pressure on the eye, gradually damaging the optic nerve.
Untreated or under-managed glaucoma can lead to permanent and irreversible vision loss and blindness.
Symptoms for Glaucoma:
• Severe eye pain
• Redness in your eye
• Sudden vision disturbances
• Seeing coloured rings around lights
• Sudden blurred vision
Types of Glaucoma:
- Open-angle (chronic) glaucoma
Open-angle, or chronic, glaucoma has no signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss. This loss may be so slow that your vision can suffer irreparable damage before any other signs become apparent. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) (trusted source), this is the most common type of glaucoma.
- Angle-closure (acute) glaucoma
If the flow of your aqueous humour fluid is suddenly blocked, the rapid buildup of fluid may cause a severe, quick, and painful increase in pressure. Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency situation. You should call your doctor immediately if you begin experiencing symptoms, such as severe pain, nausea, and blurred vision.
- Congenital Glaucoma
Children born with congenital glaucoma have a defect in the angle of their eye, which slows or prevents normal fluid drainage. Congenital glaucoma usually presents with symptoms, such as cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, or sensitivity to light. Congenital glaucoma can run in families.
- Secondary Glaucoma
Secondary glaucoma is often a side effect of injury or another eye condition, such as cataracts or eye tumors. Medicines, such as corticosteroids, may also cause this type of glaucoma. Rarely, eye surgery can cause secondary glaucoma.
- Normal Tension Glaucoma
In some cases, people without increased eye pressure develop damage to their optic nerve. The cause of this isn’t known. However, extreme sensitivity or a lack of blood flow to your optic nerve may be a factor in this type of glaucoma.
Treatment for Glaucoma:
There are several different treatments for glaucoma, including eyedrops, laser treatment and surgery. Your treatment will largely depend on which type of glaucoma you have. The most common type, primary open angle glaucoma, is usually treated with eyedrops. Laser treatment or surgery may be offered if drops don’t help.
Treatment for other types of glaucoma may include:
- Primary angle closure glaucoma: Immediate treatment in the hospital with medicine to reduce the pressure in the eye, followed by laser treatment.
- Secondary glaucoma: Eyedrops, laser treatment, or surgery, depending on the underlying cause.
- Childhood glaucoma: Surgery to correct the problem in the eye that led to the buildup of fluid and pressure
You’ll also be advised to attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor your eyes and check that the treatment is working. It’s important not to miss any of these appointments.