Patient Awareness

Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

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Glaucoma is the name given to a set of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly damaged.  The optic nerve is the one that is responsible for sending out information from your eye to your brain, which allows the person to make sense of what they are seeing. When the nerve stops working, you essentially lose your vision.

Symptoms

There are two major types of glaucoma: primary and secondary. The symptoms for unexpected primary disease, which is due to the eye’s inability to drain through the filtration angles of the eye, are as follows:

  • High pressure within the eye
  • Cloudy appearance at front of the eye
  • Dilated pupil – or pupil does not respond to light
  • Vision loss
  • Redness of the blood vessels in the whites of eyes

 Symptoms for glaucoma due to secondary eye infection or secondary glaucoma include:

  • High pressure within the eye
  • Cloudy appearance at front of the eye
  • Inflammatory debris visible in the front of the eye
  • Possible constriction of the pupil
  • Redness of the blood vessels in the whites of eyes

Causes

The precise causes of optic nerve damage from glaucoma are not fully understood, but entail mechanical compression and/or decreased blood flow from optic nerve. Although high eye pressure may sometimes to glaucoma, many people can also develop glaucoma with normal eye pressure.

Individuals with acute closed-angle glaucoma frequently have a structural defect that causes a narrow angle between the iris and cornea where the aqueous humor circulates. Conditions that suddenly dilate the pupils may probably cause this shallow angle to close and sudden attacks of acute glaucoma in susceptible people. Such conditions may include:

  • definite drugs such as antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, some asthma medications (nebulized ipratropium), some anti-seizure drugs (topiramate)
  • Darkness
  • Emotional stress

Treatment

The cure of glaucoma is aimed at reducing intraocular pressure which is done by improving aqueous outflow. As damage to nerve caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, the plan of the treatment is to prevent or reduce further damage to the optic nerve. The first step taken to reduce further damage is to lower the eye pressure. The three types of treatment are Eye drops, laser treatment and operative procedures like surgery.

Operation for glaucoma is the solitary option left for patients in whom the eye pressure is not controlled with medication or laser. It is also the treatment of choice in uncooperative patients, and in infants and children with glaucoma.

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