A Guide to Understand Glaucoma

  • A group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which is essential for vision.
  • It is usually caused by an increase in fluid pressure in the eye.

Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated.

Symptoms of Glaucoma 

The most common symptom of glaucoma is vision loss, which usually occurs slowly and often without pain or other symptoms.

Other possible symptoms include:  

  • Tunnel or narrowed vision in advanced stages 
  • Peripheral (side) vision loss
  • Halos around lights
  • Eye redness 
  • Headache 
  • Eye pain 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Blurred vision

Causes of Glaucoma 

  • Increased intraocular pressure
  • Age-related changes
  • Hereditary factors
  • Eye injuries
  • Certain medications
  • Certain Eye diseases
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Diagnosis of Glaucoma 

The diagnosis of glaucoma is made through a comprehensive eye exam.

This exam includes:

  • Medical and family history
  • Visual acuity test (to check your vision)
  • Eye pressure and optic nerve test
  • Visual field test (to check how well you can see in the periphery)

In addition, your doctor may also perform other tests, such as imaging of the optic nerve and visualizing the drainage angle of the eye.

Treatment of Glaucoma 

• Medications: Eye drops, pills, or injections that reduce the pressure in the eye 

• Laser surgery: A procedure that uses a laser to make a tiny hole in the eye to reduce pressure 

•Filtering surgery: A procedure that creates a new drainage system for fluid to leave the eye, reducing pressure 

• Drainage implants: Tiny tubes implanted in the eye to help fluid drain more easily 

• Iridotomy: A laser procedure that creates a hole in the iris to increase fluid drainage 

• Cyclophotocoagulation: A procedure using a laser to reduce fluid production in the eye 

• Trabeculectomy/Trabeculectomy: Surgical procedures that create a new drainage system for fluid to leave the eye, reducing pressure.

Glaucoma: When to Call a Doctor?

If you experience any of the following signs of glaucoma, you should call your doctor right away:  

  • Sudden Loss of Vision
    • Eye Pain
    • Swelling or Redness of the Eye
    • Sensitivity to Light
    • Tunnel or Narrowed Vision
    • Severe Headache
    • Nausea and Vomiting

Tips for Living with Glaucoma

  • Take Your Medications
  • Schedule Regular Follow-ups
  • Wear Sunglasses
  • Reduce Eye Strain
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Elevate your head
  • Eat Healthy (Green leafy vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Avoid Smoking

Complications of Glaucoma

The main complications of glaucoma include permanent vision loss, tunnel vision, and complete blindness.

In advanced cases, glaucoma can cause a buildup of fluid in the eye, leading to a detached retina or optic nerve damage.

Hence, routine eye exams to detect this disease early are very important.