Glaucoma is a group of conditions that leads to the impairment of the optic nerve that carries information from the eyes to the brain. It is a progressive condition, which, if not treated, may lead to complete loss of vision. The most common cause of this damage is the increase in the pressure inside the eyes. Glaucoma may remain asymptomatic for a long time, therefore, it is important to have eye checkups to prevent complete vision loss. This is especially true of those who have a family history of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is classified into two major types:
- Open-angle glaucoma – This is the most common form of this condition. In this disease, the fluid in the eye is not drained properly and the pressure inside the eye increases gradually.
- Angle-closure glaucoma – This condition is caused by a sudden increase in the intralocular pressure. Here, the angle between the iris and cornea is narrow leading to poor drainage.
In some rare cases, the drainage system in the eye is not developed during birth and this results in a condition called congenital glaucoma. There are instances where pigment granules detach from the iris and block the drainage of the fluid in the eye. In low tension glaucoma, there is decreased flow of blood to the optic nerve causing significant damage to the nerve.
Some of the risk factors for this eye condition include:
- Family history
- Vision problems, like myopia or hyperopia
- Injury to eye
- Use of certain medications, like steroids
Glaucoma goes unnoticed for several years without any prominent symptoms. The initial symptom is the loss of peripheral vision or the inability to see the sides of the visual field. If the pressure within the chambers of the eyes increases rapidly, the person may feel sudden eye pain, followed by headache and blurred vision. Many complain of halo vision with haziness around lights. In congenital glaucoma, the front of the eye looks cloudy in children with one or both of the eyes enlarged. Sensitivity to light is also common in this condition.
One should immediately meet the doctor if they have the following warning signs:
- Halo vision around lights
- Reddishness in the eyes
- Eye pain
- Loss of side vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of vision
- Blurred vision
Treatment of glaucoma is a combination of eye drops, and laser surgery. It is difficult to prevent this condition, but if diagnosed early, it can be treated and controlled.
- There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure.
- Glaucoma can lead to vision loss.