Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages optic nerves. It is caused due to the fluid build up in the eye that tends to increase the pressure in the eye, which eventually damages the optical nerve. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the adults over 60 years old.
There are two major types of glaucoma:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is painless and does not cause any change in the vision. People who have optical nerves that are sensitive to normal eye pressure are at a greater risk of getting open-angle glaucoma.
- Angle-closure glaucoma
This type of glaucoma occurs when the iris is very close to the drainage angle of the eye. Due to this, the iris blocks the drainage angle, resulting in the build-up of quick fluid.
The results of glaucoma are permanent and irreversible. However, the good news is, you can be managed if detected early with medical and surgical treatments. People with glaucoma will not lose their sight if timely treatment is met.
Following are some treatment options available for glaucoma:
The initial treatment of glaucoma begins with eyedrops. These help in decreasing the eye pressure by improving the drainage of the fluid from the eye or by decreasing the amount of fluid that our eyes make. Prostaglandins increase the outflow of the fluid, thereby reducing the pressure in the eye. Beta-blockers reduce the production of the fluid in the eye which decreases the pressure in the eye. Alpha-adrenergic agonists reduce the production of aqueous humor and increase the outflow of the fluid. The side effects of using these medications include irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, itchy swollen, or dry eyes.
- Oral medications
Usually, a carbonic inhibitor might be prescribed to reduce the fluid pressure in the eyes. Possible side effects include frequent urination, tingling in the fingers, stomach disorders, and depression.
- Surgery and other therapies
Laser therapy could be used as surgery to treat people suffering from open-angle glaucoma. A laser beam is used to open clogged channels in the trabecular meshwork.
Filtering is a surgical procedure where the surgeon creates an opening in the white of the eye (sclera) and removes the part of the trabecular meshwork.
Drainage implant surgery is a fairly new technique developed to treat glaucoma. It involves drainage devices such as silicone tube that extends into the anterior chamber of the eye. The tube is connected to a plate that is sutured on the surface of the eyes. The deposited fluid is then collected in this plate with the help of the silicone tube, which can be absorbed by the eyes.
Electrocautery is a minimally invasive procedure in which the doctors remove the tissues from the eyes. These surgical procedures are done to reduce the pressure developed in the eyes due to fluid buildup.
There are no measures known to prevent glaucoma but diagnosing it at an early stage can be effective to minimize the effects of the disease. Because there are no symptoms, it is important to get your eyes regularly checked. Individuals suffering from diabetes should also be tested every two years.