Glaucoma is a group of eye ailments that result in damage to the optic nerve and cause vision loss. The word "Glaucoma" is derived from the Ancient Greek word glaukos, which means "shimmering." In Hindi, it is commonly known as ''Kala Motiyabind''.
Glaucoma is often differentiated into open-angle Glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma (there are other types too, these being the bulk majority). The most common type is the open-angle (wide-angle, chronic simple) glaucoma, in which the drainage angle for fluid within the eye remains open. Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea is too narrow. As a result, the drainage canals get blocked, preventing aqueous fluid from leaving the eye and causing an acute elevation in eye pressure.
Open-angle glaucoma comes with no early signs, whereas in closed-angle glaucoma symptoms usually come faster and are more prominent. One can notice symptoms like:
- Patchy blind spots in the side, peripheral, or central vision that frequently occur in both the eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye redness
What Causes Glaucoma
The fluid inside the eye, called the aqueous humor, usually flows out of the human eye through a mesh-like structure. If this channel gets blocked, the liquid builds up. Glaucoma is inherited. Other less common causes of Glaucoma include:
- A blunt or chemical injury to the eyes
- Severe eye infection
- Blocked blood vessels inside the eye and inflammatory conditions
A Few Common risk factors
- Certain racial groups like African American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit, or Scandinavian are at higher risk
- Old Age (over 40)
- Family history of Glaucoma
- Poor vision
- Certain steroid medications, prolonged usage of certain types of eye drops
- Thinner corneas than usual
- High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
- High eye pressure
Prevention against Glaucoma:
While Glaucoma mainly has a ''Que Sera Sera” (what shall be shall be)'' kind of nature but the following may lower your risks:
- Have regular eye exams- People over the age of 40 and having a family history of the disease are advised to get a complete eye exam from an eye doctor every 1 to 2 years. In case of other health issues like diabetes or other eye diseases, people may need to visit the doctors more often.
- Learn your family history-Since it is genetic learning, being aware of the family history can help.
- Follow your doctor's instructions- Doctors may prescribe eye drops to lower eye pressure.
- Perform Exercise. A moderate activity, like walking or jogging at least three times a week, might help lower eye pressure.
- Protect your eyes- Using protective eyewear when playing sports or visiting any place where there is a risk of an eye injury can help a great deal.
These are generally the primary line of defence. Eye drops either lower the creation of fluid in the human eye or increase its flow out, hence reducing the eye pressure. A few side effects include allergies, redness, stinging, blurred vision, and irritated eyes. Some glaucoma drugs may also affect the heart and lungs.
Doctors may also prescribe some medications like a beta-blocker or a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. These drugs can help improve the drainage or help slow down the creation of fluid in human eyes.
This procedure can raise the flow of fluid from the human eye if the person is suffering from open-angle Glaucoma. It can even stop fluid blockage in case of angle-closure Glaucoma.
A few procedures include:
Opens the drainage area.
Involves making a tiny hole in the iris to let fluid flow more freely.
Treats areas of the middle layer of the human eye to lower the production of fluid.
In a procedure called a trabeculectomy, the eye doctors create a new channel for draining the fluid and easing the eye pressure. This form of surgery might need to be done more than once, and doctors might implant a tube to help drain fluid. However, this surgery is associated with causing certain issues like temporary or permanent vision loss, as well as bleeding or infection in the eyes.
is most often treated by using a combination of eye drops, laser trabeculoplasty, and microsurgery. Eye doctors tend to start with medications, but early laser surgery or microsurgery could work better for some people.
Infant or congenital Glaucoma is usually treated with surgery.
It is important to note that, if left untreated, Glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Even with treatment, sometimes blindness can occur, mainly if the doctors handling the case arena aren't expert enough. Thankfully, at Centre for Sight, you will have no worries about the quality of the doctors.
For more information on Glaucoma, or Glaucoma treatment, head to Centre for Sight and let our experts guide you.
Article: Here's what to do if you have a family history of Glaucoma and how to treat it!
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Nov 16 2020 | UPDATED 12:10 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.