Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to damaging vision, and progressive, permanent and irreversible vision loss, if left untreated.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. In England, about 480,000 people have chronic open-angle glaucoma. Of these about 1 in 50 above 40 years old and 1 in 10 people above 75 years old.

It is a category of eye disorders, which is often associated with dangerous build-up of internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure or IOP). The pressures cause damage to the eye’s optic nerves, which normally transmits the visual information to your brain.

If untreated, initially the peripheral vision is affected, causing inability to see at the edges of vision, then progressively leading to damage causing blindness.  Visual field testing is an eye examination method used to measure your peripheral vision and to determine if you have eye diseases such as glaucoma .

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Symptoms Of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma:

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Approximately 90% of cases are open-angle. It is painless and does not have acute attacks. The only signs are gradually progressive visual field loss as the optic nerve changes.

Closed-Angle Glaucoma

Approximately 10% of cases are closed-cases. 10% of these closed-angle cases tend to be characterized by sudden ocular pain, seeing halos around lights, red eye, very high intraocular pressure, nausea and vomiting, sudden decreased vision and fixed mid-dilated pupil. This is treated ocular emergency.

Causes Of Glaucoma

There is a constant flow of fluid through the eye to ensure that the eye maintains its round shape and does not become too hard or soft. The fluid is called ‘aqueous humour’ and is secreted from behind the iris around through the pupil then drains through several microscopic channels. Glaucoma develops usually when the flow is obstructed and causing a build-up of pressure within the eye.

People with a history of glaucoma have about 6% chance of developing it. People of African descent are three times more likely to develop primary open-angle glaucoma, and elderly people have a higher risk of developing glaucoma due to a thinner corneal thickness.

Treatments For Glaucoma

Early diagnosis is important because any damage to the eyes cannot be reversed. The treatment is aimed to control the condition and minimize future damage. The treatment involved could be: eye drops, laser treatment or surgery.

  • Eye drops / medicine
    These work by increasing the drainage of fluid out of the eye, or they reduce the amount of fluid secreted into the eye for open-angled glaucoma. For closed-angled medicine is given rapidly into circulation through a vein to reduce pressure quite quickly.
  • Laser treatment
    For open-angled glaucoma this is used to increase of flow of fluid from the eye. It is normally considered to be a temporary treatment method. For closed-angled glaucoma, a hole in the iris is made using a laser to prevent condition happening again.
  • Eye surgery
    This operation allows drainage of fluid from inside the eye to the outside of the eye. The surgery may result in a small blister on eye, hidden under upper eyelid and medicine used to reduce risk of scarring.

Glaucoma

4 Comments
  1. christopher nicholson 10/02/2012 at 12:03

    hi my name is christopher nicholson, i have blurrd vision in my right eye,it causes me to have headaches,i feel sick an off balance at times, i have no idea what my condition is or weather there is anything that can be done to correct it, the only thing ive been told is that it is a lazy eye,but i havent seen anything on your site that relates to this, i would be very gratefull if thers any one who could help me shed some light on the matter,and also see if its possible to have treatment thank you

    • Admin 10/02/2012 at 13:43

      Dear Christopher
      The best thing you can do is to contact us by telephone and speak to a patient coordinator, they will be able to help answer your specific questions and possibly direct you to the correct resource.

  2. Veronica 21/02/2012 at 22:13

    Hi I have had glaucoma for a number of years now but would like to know if laser eye surgery could help, even though I know the condition cannot be corrected, I would like to be able to wear contact lenses, I have worn contact lens before but found that my eyes became very dry and red.

    • Admin 22/02/2012 at 15:46

      Hello Veronica, unfortunately we do not deal with Glaucoma here and you would need to see a specialist for this. We suggest looking up Mr Riaz Asaria or Mr Graham Duguid.

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