Glaucoma

Preserve your vision with early detection & treatment

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma or Kala motia is a sight threatening group of diseases in which there is damage to the optic nerve caused by increased pressure within the eye. It is known as the ‘Sneak Thief of Sight’ since you could lose vision without knowing until it is too late. It is a serious condition that must not be ignored, early diagnosis and regular treatment is the key to saving your sight.

Are you at risk for Glaucoma?

Age> 45 years

Family history of Glaucoma

Diabetes

Hypertension

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Hypermetropia (Farsightedness)

Prolonged Steroid use

Blunt injury to the eye

Symptoms of Glaucoma

In the early stages there are no obvious symptoms. By the time the patient becomes aware of decreased sight, the damage is already quite advanced. Hence, it is important to have regular eye check ups especially over the age of 40 years. Depending on the type of Glaucoma ( Open or Closed angle) following symptoms may occur

How is Glaucoma diagnosed ?

The best way to detect early Glaucoma is by a complete eye check up by your Eye specialist. This includes checking your vision, your intraocular pressure (IOP), evaluating the drainage angle of the eyes and examining your Optic nerve. If you have a risk factor for glaucoma, raised eye pressure,narrow angles or abnormal appearance of the Optic Disc,you will be advised to take certain special tests.

Glaucoma Investigations - Basic Test

Measurement of the eye or Intraocular pressure (IOP) is essential and needs to be monitored regularly. Like Blood pressure, eye pressure can vary at different times of the day. Normal IOP is < 21mm Hg. It can be measured by Contact or Noncontact methods. The most accurate technique is by Goldmann Applanation Tonometry.

Measurement of the eye or Intraocular pressure (IOP) is essential and needs to be monitored regularly. Like Blood pressure, eye pressure can vary at different times of the day. Normal IOP is < 21mm Hg. It can be measured by Contact or Noncontact methods. The most accurate technique is by Goldmann Applanation Tonometry.

Advanced Glaucoma Tests

Stereoscopic Optic disc photograph is taken as a baseline

Stereoscopic Optic disc photograph is taken as a baseline

Can Vision be restored with Glaucoma treatment?

Unfortunately, vision lost as a result of Glaucoma is usually permanent and cannot be restored. Most cases of Glaucoma, if diagnosed and treated early, enjoy a normal life. Once diagnosed as a glaucoma patient, you need regular monitoring. It can be successfully controlled with medicines, eyedrops, laser or surgery.

What are the Types of Glaucoma?

Angle Closure
The drainage pathways for the fluid (Aqueous humour) formed within the eye is narrowed leading to increased back pressure.It often presents as a sudden attack of Glaucoma with very high pressure, can cause severe headache, pain, nausea and loss of vision.

Open angle
The angle is not obstructed by iris tissue but there is resistance in the outflow channels. It starts gradually, is painless with no warning symptoms.

Normotensive/ Low tension
Despite normal eye pressure, there is damage to the optic nerve usually due to less blood supply and low blood pressure

Congenital
It presents early in life and is due to defective development of normal drainage structures in the eye. Babies born with it may have cloudy eyes, watering and light sensitivity.It usually needs early surgery.

Traumatic
Eye injuries can lead to glaucoma due to bleeding or scarring that obstructs the outflow of fluid

Neovascular
Serious and intractable form of glaucoma due to growth of abnormal blood vessels on the iris.

Secondary
Glaucoma can occur due to other eye diseases such as mature cataract, eye inflammation, eye tumours, eye surgery, medications etc.

How is Glaucoma treated?

In the early stages there are no obvious symptoms. By the time the patient becomes aware of decreased sight, the damage is already quite advanced. Hence, it is important to have regular eye check ups especially over the age of 40 years. Depending on the type of Glaucoma ( Open or Closed angle) following symptoms may occur

Eye Drops or combination of drops and pills are the first choice of treatment to reduce the eye pressure. They can work either by reducing the production of fluid within the eye or by increasing its drainage. They must be used regularly as per the doctors advice and should never be discontinued on one’s own.The Eye specialist starts treatment with minimum medication that produces adequate control of eye pressure and without causing significant side effects. Redness and mild irritation are common side effects but inform your doctor if you get gastric upset, wheezing, drowsiness, change in heart rate, mood swings etc

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