Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can cause loss of vision by damaging the optic nerve. This condition cannot be reversed and gets worse over time. Glaucoma is often linked to the build-up of pressure inside your eye.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma: also called wide-angle glaucoma. In this type, the fluid does not drain out properly through the trabecular meshwork as it is partially blocked. The drainage angle formed by iris and cornea remains open.
- Narrow-angle glaucoma: also called angle-closure glaucoma. In this type, the fluid doesn’t drain out properly as the angle formed by iris and cornea becomes too narrow.
Glaucoma occurs due to increased intraocular pressure or eye pressure. The fluid in the eye called aqueous humour flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel and blockage of this causes a liquid build-up, as a result of which eye pressure increases.
Possible causes for it to happen are:
- Inherited condition
- Blunt or chemical injury to the eye
- Damage to the optic nerve
- Severe eye infection
- Blocked blood vessels in the eye
Symptoms of glaucoma are:
- Severe eye pain
- Eye redness
- Blurry vision
- Halos around lights
- Dilated pupil
- Nausea and vomiting
Diagnostic measures for glaucoma include:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Medical history
- Eye exam
- Complete eye exam including:
- Visual field test
- Tests for optic nerve
Possible preventive measures of glaucoma and self-care steps to slow down its progression glaucoma include:
- Regular eye exam
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep good control of your blood pressure
- Exercise moderately and regularly
- Take prescribed eye drops regularly
- Wear eye protection in situations where there is a possibility for an eye injury such as when using power tools.
- Control other medications that can worsen the condition
- Limit caffeine intake.
Glaucoma is a condition which cannot be reversed. Treatment can slow down further damage or prevent vision loss. Glaucoma is treated by reducing intraocular pressure or eye pressure. Methods include:
- Medications to lower down the eye pressure
- Eye drops that help in decreasing eye pressure by draining out fluid from the eye or decreasing the amount of fluid the eye produces.
- Surgical procedures are also used in the treatment of glaucoma. Some of the procedures are:
- Trabeculoplasty: also called laser therapy, in which a small laser beam is used to open clogged channels in the trabecular meshwork.
- Iridotomy: a procedure which uses a laser to create a hole in the iris in order to treat narrow-angle and angle-closure glaucoma.
- Drainage tubes are also used to drain away excess fluid from the eyes in order to lower eye pressure.
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