Glaucoma is a condition that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It gets worse over time. It’s often linked to a buildup of pressure inside your eye. Glaucoma tends to run in families. You usually don’t get it until later in life (Whitney, 2022).
Glaucoma Main Cause
The fluid (called aqueous humor) that circulates around the inside of your eye builds up and causes elevated eye pressure. At the intersection in which the iris and cornea meet, a tissue known as the trabecular meshwork is where this internal fluid often drains out.
Eye pressure rises when fluid cannot drain at a regular rate because of overproduction or a malfunctioning drainage mechanism. Your eye is always amusing itself with water. The same amount of aqueous should drain out as new aqueous enters your eye.
The drainage angle is the location where the fluid exits. The intraocular pressure, or IOP, in the eye is maintained via this process. However, fluid accumulates if the outlet angle is not functioning properly. As the pressure inside the eye increases, the optic nerve is harmed.
Over a million microscopic nerve fibers make up the optic nerve. It resembles an electric cable comprised of several tiny wires. You will have blind spots in your vision as these nerve fibers degenerate. These blind spots might not be apparent until the majority of your optic nerve cells have gone. If every fiber perishes, the patient will be blind.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma typically has no initial symptoms. Because of this, only 50% of glaucoma sufferers are aware of their condition.
You may gradually lose eyesight over time, usually beginning with your peripheral (side) vision, particularly the area of your vision that is closest to your nose. Many people are first unaware that their vision is altering since it happens so gradually.
However, when the illness worsens, you can start to notice that your peripheral vision has diminished. Glaucoma can eventually result in blindness if it is not treated.
Types Of Glaucoma
According to (Whitney, 2022), there are primarily two types:
The most typical kind is this. Wide-angle glaucoma may also be the term used by your doctor. Your eye’s trabecular meshwork, which functions as a drain, appears to be in good shape yet fluid doesn’t exit as it should.
Glaucoma with an angle closure
In Asia, this is more typical. Narrow-angle glaucoma is another name for acute, chronic, or angle-closure glaucoma. The drain area between your iris and cornea becomes too small, which prevents your eye from draining as it should. Your eye pressure may suddenly increase as a result of this. Additionally, cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens and farsightedness are related to it.
How to Treat Glaucoma
These either accelerate the fluid’s passage out of your eye or reduce its production, decreasing ocular pressure. Allergies, redness, stinging, blurred vision, and itchy eyes are examples of side effects. Your heart and lungs may be impacted by some glaucoma medications.
Tell your doctor about all of your current drugs and any other medical conditions you have because there could be drug interactions. Additionally, let them know if using a regimen that requires two or three different eye drops is difficult for you or if there are any negative side effects. They might be able to alter the course of your care.
This procedure can slightly raise the flow of fluid from your eye if you have open-angle glaucoma. It can stop fluid blockage if you have angle-closure glaucoma. Procedures include:
Your iris will become slightly perforated, allowing more fluid to pass through. Patients with anatomically narrow angles may benefit from a laser iridotomy as a preventative measure or as a treatment for angle-closure glaucoma (Mark, 2021).
By making a tiny hole in the iris, a laser iridotomy can push fluid that has accumulated behind the iris forward and possibly close the drainage angle. When it is concluded that the advantages (glaucoma treatment or prevention) outweigh the uncommon but potential hazards, the surgery is used (bleeding, glare, pain, worsening of condition).
According to Dr. Mark Werner, This is still considered the gold standard in glaucoma surgery, involves creating a new pathway for the eye to drain fluid (Mark, 2021).
First, an eye surgeon creates a flap in the sclera — the white part of the eye — underneath the upper eyelid to allow fluid to drain. This drainage area is bounded by the outermost covering of the eye (the conjunctiva). By carefully managing the healing process with frequent office visits over several weeks after surgery, surgeons may lower eye pressure to the desired level.
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (migs).
This is a more recent, less invasive type of surgery that typically involves microscopic incisions and tools that are invisible to the human eye. Although generally quicker and safer, the pressure won’t be reduced as much. The operation can be carried out concurrently with another procedure, such as cataract surgery.
Neuroprotection And Neuroregeneration
All of the current treatments for glaucoma involve lowering eye pressure; however, we know that there are other important factors that allow the optic nerve to be damaged by a certain level of eye pressure (Mark, 2021).
It affects the patient by harming the optic nerve, which is responsible for providing vision. We can prevent and correct glaucoma-related vision loss if we can figure out ways to shield the optic nerve from harm and restore or replace a damaged optic nerve. Sadly, this is a really difficult issue. The good news is that a lot of research is being done specifically for this reason.
Glaucoma presently has no known treatments. However, typically be successfully managed with prompt diagnosis and ongoing care from an eye doctor. In most circumstances, glaucoma treatment can also effectively reduce or prevent vision loss.
Mark, W. (2021) ‘Glaucoma Treatments and Management’ Available at: https://glaucoma.org/glaucoma-treatments-and-management/ (Accessed 7 September 2022)
Whitney, S. (2022) ‘Glaucoma’ Available at: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/glaucoma-eyes (Accessed 7 September 2022)