Different types of medications and surgery are used to treat glaucoma. Here is detailed information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for glaucoma.
Glaucoma is defined as a set of eye disorders that occurs when pressure on the eyeball increases, resulting in the damage of the optic nerve. It can occur at any age, however, it is commonly seen in older people. It is also one of the most significant causes of impaired vision or blindness.
Increased intraocular pressure is the prominent cause of glaucoma. However, reasons that cause nerve damage or increase in the pressure are unknown. Open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma are the two main types. Sudden dilation of the pupil and dispersion of pigment granules in the inner part of the eye is another cause.
On the other hand, extreme sensitivity or reduced supply of blood to the optic nerve are other possible causes of glaucoma. Any person can suffer from this disorder. However, people with a family history of glaucoma, those suffering from diabetes, migraine, high blood pressure, myopia (nearsightedness), etc., are at a higher risk. On the other hand, eye injury or prolonged use of corticosteroids can also increase the chances of suffering from this condition.
Unfortunately, in the initial stages, no prominent symptoms are observed. In most of the cases, blurred vision is the first noticeable symptom. In case of open-angle glaucoma, loss of peripheral vision is observed in both the eyes. In case of acute angle-closure glaucoma, other symptoms like severe eye pain, nausea, vomiting, reddening of eye, and halos around eyes are observed. As the disease progresses, the person also experiences tunnel vision and a general feeling of being sick or ill.
As mentioned above, it is difficult to diagnose glaucoma at the initial stage as no symptoms are observed. Therefore, people should undertake an annual eye checkup. Any malfunction, abnormality, or pain in the eye, disorders of vision, etc., should be reported to the doctor immediately. Different types of tests like the Tonometry, Pachymetry, ophthalmoscopy, etc., help in diagnosing the disorder. If glaucoma is left untreated, it can lead to a permanent loss of vision. In order to prevent further damage and loss of vision, regular treatment using medications or surgery is required. The aim of the treatment is to reduce the intraocular pressure, and lower the chances of further complications and eye damage.
Medications of glaucoma can be used individually or in combination. Ophthalmic beta blockers are extensively used to reduce the pressure in the inner eye. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors are also helpful in reducing the fluid present in chambers of the eye, which consequently lowers the pressure. Miotic agents constrict the pupil and allow the fluid to flow out of the channels, which results in lowered pressure. Alpha agonists, Prostaglandin analogs are other medications that also carry out the same function. If these medications prove ineffective, doctors advise surgery. Laser eye surgery and trabeculectomy are effective the surgical procedures.
Although there are a few side effects of these medications, they are effective in treating glaucoma and prevent vision loss. As a concluding note, one should remember that vision loss can be prevented or slowed down to a great extent if glaucoma is diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.
Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for doctor’s consultation and treatment.