Do you know that our eyes have a special type of fluid called aqueous humor? The amount of aqueous fluid that flows into our eyes should also drain out of it. If the eye does not maintain this balance, then the pressure inside the eye will keep building up. This intraocular pressure, when it keeps building up, can damage the eyes completely. It can damage the optic nerve, and this condition is termed glaucoma.
When we visit the ophthalmology department for eye problems, the doctor will test the eyes for both vision and pressure. Ophthalmologists term this pressure check as tonometry, and it is done with a special device. The normal range of pressure in the eyes is between 10 and 21 mmHg. People with glaucoma have an eye pressure higher than 21 mm Hg.
Symptoms of glaucoma
When we do not treat glaucoma, it can damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is vital to send visual information from the eye to the brain and is vital for appropriate vision. According to experts in ophthalmology, glaucoma is common in older adults. However, it is common among people who are over 60 years of age. This eye condition doesn’t come with any warning signs. Its progress is gradual, and many people will not notice a change until the vision deteriorates. Symptoms of glaucoma are as follows:
- As glaucoma progresses, the affected individual will see patchy blind spots in the peripheral vision (side vision).
- Gradually, they will find it difficult to see things in the central vision.
- Severe headache and eye pain along with blurring in the vision.
- Blurring of the vision aligns with visualizing halos around the lights.
- Redness in the eyes at the later stages.
Types and causes of glaucoma
There are four different types of glaucoma, namely open-angle glaucoma, closed-angle glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and normal-tension glaucoma. If an individual experiences symptoms that come suddenly, they have acute angle closure glaucoma. Its symptoms are headache and severe pain in the eyes. If such symptoms surface, it is mandatory to visit the ophthalmology OP immediately.
The major cause of glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve. As the nerve deteriorates they will find blind spots in the vision. This nerve damage is secondary to the pressure building up in the eyes. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the iris in the eyes bulges. It can also happen due to blocks in the drainage system of the aqueous humor.
When should we see a doctor?
It is recommended to visit the ophthalmologist when symptoms like headache and eye pain occur. It is important to proceed to diagnostic tests when we notice changes in the peripheral vision.
There is no cure available for glaucoma treatment, but there are certain options that help to prevent additional damage. The treatment choice depends on the seriousness and type of the disease, and it depends on individual factors. Experts in ophthalmology suggest the following treatment modalities.
- Eye drops: Eye drops help to reduce the fluid buildup in the eyes and improve fluid drainage effectively.
- Oral medicines: Oral medicines help to lower the intraocular pressure. These medicines should be used in combination with eye drops.
- Laser therapy: This treatment option involves trabeculoplasty and iridotomy. This will create a small hole in the iris to improve fluid flow. This also helps reduce intraocular pressure and opens blocked channels.
- Surgical procedures: When laser treatment and medicines are not helpful, ophthalmology experts recommend surgical procedures.
- Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery: This procedure reduces intraocular pressure by creating natural drainage pathways for the eyes.
The best way to treat glaucoma is to prevent it, according to experts in ophthalmology. We can prevent it through regular eye examinations and by protecting the eyes with eyewear. It is important to take regular eye examinations to avoid eye complications.