We often hear of the disease; Glaucoma, a common concern for older people mostly above age 60 also a source of fear to those that have older ones with or around them.
What is Glaucoma disease and how grave is it for both the old and young?
It was coined from the Greek word glaukos meaning bluish-green or bluish-grey and another Greek word meaning “the opacity of the lens.”
It occurs when fluid builds up in the eye, subsequently increasing eye pressure and damaging the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. However, it is preventable.
Glaucoma has an aetiology; that is the study on causes, symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures. This should help you know more about it.
The human eye contains a fluid known as the aqueous humor at the back of the eye. This fluid is controlled by Intraocular Pressure (IOP) which and flows out through the cornea and iris. When these channels are blocked, the pressure within the eye increases and eventually damages the optic nerve fibers.
The optic nerve transfers visual electrical impulses from the retina to the brain. This gives us the ability to see and identify objects. When the optic nerve is damaged, vision is lost.
TYPES OF GLAUCOMA AND SYMPTOMS
Glaucoma has types and stages; Open-angle glaucoma, Angle-closure, and Normal-tension glaucoma. The types of glaucoma also have symptoms. What is a common symptom amongst them is vision loss, and it occurs when early stages were not identified.
Open-angle is the most common form. The drainage canals of the eyes (cornea and iris) gets clogged, this stops the fluid from flowing out. Eye pressure increases and slowly damaging the optic nerve.
It is called open-angle because it creates a wide and open angle between the iris and cornea. It is asymptomatic. Thus, why you need a regular eye check especially if there is a history in the family.
This develops even under normal intraocular pressure. Its cause is still unknown but seems to be a genetic disease and most common in people of Japanese descent.
Just like open-angle glaucoma, this also has “silent symptoms” which means it might not be easily noticed until most optic nerve fibers are damaged.
Unlike Open-angle, this is rarely seen. It is caused by a blocked drainage canal. However, the angle formed between the iris and cornea is closed. Hence, the name Angle-Closure Glaucoma.
It requires immediate medical attention and symptoms are obvious.
A medical history review and a comprehensive eye examination will be conducted. Several eye tests will be performed.
Glaucoma causes irreversible damage, however, the degree of damage can be stopped or controlled. It can be controlled by surgery or eye drop.
This method is used to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) already built up in the eye. Fluid flows better with the help of this eye medication, especially through the drainage angle.
These medications have side effects; Stinging or itching, red eyes, change in heartbeat and energy level.
Glaucoma surgery can be done in the doctor’s office or an operating room.
Patients should to also play an active part for maximum results. Taking the medication according to prescription and visiting the doctor when due for an appointment.