What is it?

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. There are different types of glaucoma, mostly caused by elevated intra-occular pressure. The back of your eye continuously produces a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid fills the front part of your eye and then leaves the eye via special channels. If these channels arn’t working properly, or if the fluid can't reach them for some reason, the pressure in your eye ( the intraocular pressure), may increase. This causes progressive loss of vision, which classically starts with visual field loss but can progress to irreversible blindness if untreated. Treatment can stop disease progression and prevent blindness. Risk factors include age, ethnicity, family history, diabetes, hypertension, corticosteroid use and more.

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Signs & symptoms

The most common type of glaucoma is called “open angle glaucoma”. This is a chronic type of glaucoma that manifests as gradual vision loss with no other symptoms. This is among the reasons frequent visits to the ophthalmologist are so important.
Closed angle glaucoma is a type of glaucoma that causes disruption of the aqueous humor movement from the back to the front part of the eye. This causes acutely elevated elevation in the intra ocular pressure. This type of glaucoma manifests abruptly with symptoms of severe eye pain, redness in the eye, nausea, vomiting and sudden vision disturbances.
Other glaucomas include congenital glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma and secondary glaucoma (glaucoma caused by another eye condition or due to drug side affects).

Diagnosis

Your ophtalmologist can diagnose glaucoma by measuring your eye pressure and looking for signs of damage to your optic nerve. Your doctor will also measure the width of your cornea since people who have thin corneas are ar a higher risk for developing glaucoma. A perimetry test, also known as a visual field test, is usually required in order to determine the affect of this condition on your visual field and to enable good followup.

Treatment

The treatment for glaucoma varies according to the type of glaucoma you are suffering from. The most common types are open angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma.
Acute angle closure glaucoma is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. The treatment consists of medications that reduce intra ocular pressure as well as iridotomy. Iridotomy is a procedure during which a tiny hole is created in the iris in order to allow the aqueous humor, the fluid surrounding the eye lens, to move freely. The other eye should be examined as well and preventive iridotomy should be preformed if needed. This procedure usually causes immediate reduction of the eye pressure.
Open angle glaucoma- The goal of glaucoma treatment is to reduce the intra occular pressure and prevent additional visual loss. The doctor will usually start with eye drops that reduce the intra ocular pressure. Combinations of intra-ocular reducing medications are commonly prescribed. If these arn’t successful, laser therapy (trabeculoplasty) or surgury (trabeculectomy) may be indicated. These procedures cause improved drainage of the aqueous humor. It is essential to closely monitor the eye pressure and visual field in order to assess the successfulness of our treatment.
Other types of glaucoma are treated accordingly.


☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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