GLAUCOMA FAQs

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the internal fluid pressure of your eye rises to a point that the optic nerve is damaged.

The pressure that builds up is usually due to inadequate drainage of fluid normally produced in your eyes. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the world.
What causes glaucoma?
The exact cause of glaucoma is not known. For some reason, the passages that normally allow fluid within your eye to drain out become clogged or blocked. This results in fluid building up within your eye and increasing pressure on the optic nerve. The nerve fibers and blood vessels in the optic nerve can easily be damaged by this pressure, resulting in loss of vision.

An injury, infection or tumor in or around the eye can also cause the pressure to rise. Use of certain medications like steroids also causes glaucoma.
Who gets glaucoma?
Glaucoma most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, and there is a hereditary tendency for the development of the disease in some families.

It is estimated that over have glaucoma and this number is expected to rise as more of our population grows older.

There is also a greater tendency for glaucoma to develop in individuals who are nearsighted or who have diabetes.

For those over 35, regular eye examinations are particularly important as a preventive eye care measure.
What are the types of Glaucoma?
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It causes damage at an earlier age and leads to blindness at a much greater rate.

Angle closure glaucoma

Low tension glaucoma
How is glaucoma harmful to vision?
The signs or symptoms of glaucoma can vary depending on the type.

Primary open angle glaucoma often develops slowly and painlessly, with no early warning signs. It can gradually destroy your vision without you knowing it.

The first indication may occur after some vision has already been lost.

Acute angle closure glaucoma, which results from a sudden blockage of drainage channels in your eye, causes a rapid blind up of pressure accompanied by blurred vision, the appearance of colored rings around lights and pain and redness in the eyes.

How is glaucoma detected?
A comprehensive eye examination will include tests for glaucoma. A simple, painless procedure called tonometry measures the internal pressure of your eye. Your doctor will also look into your eye to observe the health of the optic nerve and measure your field of vision. Certain tests are done- gonioscopy, perimetry, OCT to detect and monitor the condition.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is usually effectively treated with prescription eye drops and medicines that must be taken regularly. In some cases, laser therapy or surgery may be required. The goal of the treatment is to prevent loss of vision by lowering the fluid pressure in the eye.
Will my vision be restored after treatment?
Unfortunately, any vision loss as a result of glaucoma is usually permanent and cannot be restored. This is why regular preventive eye examinations are so important. Low vision rehabilitation services, that include the use of specialized optical devices and training, may benefit individuals with severe vision loss.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
No, but early detection and treatment can control glaucoma and reduce the chances of damage to the eye and a loss of sight.

Glaucoma Treatments

Immediate treatment for early-stage, open-angle glaucoma can delay progression of the disease. That’s why early diagnosis is very important.

Glaucoma treatments include medicines, laser trabeculoplasty, conventional surgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may save remaining vision, they do not improve sight already lost from glaucoma.
How should I use my glaucoma eyedrops?
If eyedrops have been prescribed for treating your glaucoma, you need to use them properly, as instructed by your eye care professional. Proper use of your glaucoma medication can improve the medicine’s effectiveness and reduce your risk of side effects. To properly apply your eyedrops, follow these steps:
  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Hold the bottle upside down.
  3. Tilt your head back.
  4. Hold the bottle in one hand and place it as close as possible to the eye.
  5. With the other hand, pull down your lower eyelid. This forms a pocket.
  6. Place the prescribed number of drops into the lower eyelid pocket. If you are using more than one eyedrop, be sure to wait at least 5 minutes before applying the second eyedrop.
  7. Close your eye OR press the lower lid lightly with your finger for at least 1 minute. Either of these steps keeps the drops in the eye and helps prevent the drops from draining into the tear duct, which can increase your risk of side effects.
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