What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye which is noted by its increased pressure within the eyeball (or ocular hypertension). If left untreated, glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision.

Causes of Glaucoma

The anterior chamber, situated at the front of the eye, requires fluid to flow in and out of the chamber to bathe and nourish nearby tissues. In Patients with glaucoma the fluid does not drain quickly enough from the eye, resulting in a build up of pressure. Unless this pressure is controlled, there may be damage to the optic nerve and other parts of the eye resulting in a loss of vision. Increased pressure inside the eye, known as ocular hypertension can caus glaucoma.

Possible causes of Glaucoma include:

Eye surgery
Advanced cataracts
Injury or damage to the eye
Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome

Diagnosis of Glaucoma

Areas that are examined in determining whether a patient has glaucoma include:

Eye Pressure Examination
Drainage Pathway Examination
Optic Nerve Examination
Visual Field Examination

A diagnosis of glaucoma will result from a suggestion of damage to the optic nerve, evident from a dilated eye examination of the optic nerve. A strong indication of glaucoma is a loss of peripheral vision.

A large number of people affected by glaucoma are unaware that they have the condition, However early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment.

Treatments for Glaucoma

Treatments for Galucoma include medication in the form of eye drops and pills, laser treatment and surgery.

Medical treatments
Medical treatments help to decrease the production of fluid in the eye, and can help to drain the fluid from the eye, through a different pathway at the back of the eye.

Laser treatments
A trabeculoplasty can be performed with an argon laser, inorder to allow aqueous fluid leave the eye more efficiently. This form of laser treatment is painless and nearly 80% of patients respond well, delaying or avoiding further surgery. However, pressure increases are expected in over half of patients within two years of laser surgery.

Open surgery may be performed if medical and laser treatments do not successfully reduce pressure within the eye. A trabeculectomy creates an opening in the wall of the eye so that aqueous humor can drain. Most patients can discontinue glaucoma medication after surgery, although 10 to 15% will require additional surgery.

Surgery may save remaining vision, but eye sight may actually be worse following surgery. It is important that glaucoma is detected early on.

Eye Treatments

Eye conditions

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