What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a chronic progressive condition in which the Optic Nerve (Nerve in the Eye vital for vision) is slowly and irreversibly damaged. Optic Nerve with Emerging Blood vessels
What causes Glaucoma?
Majority of the cases are idiopathic but hereditary is also an important risk factor. Other causes include trauma, congenital eye defects, frequent use of some drugs etc.
What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
Most of the patients do not have any visual symptoms till the later stages of the disease; hence, Glaucoma has been nicknamed “The Silent Thief of Vision”. The peripheral vision field starts to shrink, so that the patient has a tubular vision. If not treated timely all of the vision may be lost.
Does Glaucoma run in families?
Not all cases have a family history of glaucoma but many patients do have a genetic predisposition. Hence, relatives of patients diagnosed with glaucoma should be aware of this disease and get themselves examined.
How is Glaucoma diagnosed?
After the visual acuity is checked the pressure in the eyeball is measured. Then after putting ‘Dilating drops’ in the eye’ the Ophthalmologist has a look at the optic nerve head and retina inside the eye. Then he may order some tests like Perimetry and Optical Coherence Tomograpghy (OCT) which can detect any abnormality in early stages even before patient has any complaints.
You are at risk if YOU
• Are over the age of 40 years
• Have a blood relative with Glaucoma or has lost sight due to unknown cause
• Have ocular hypertension ( Raised Eye Pressure )
• Are Diabetic or Hypertensive
• Have complaints of frequent headaches, coloured halos around light
How is Glaucoma treated?
Raised pressure in the eye is one of the risk factors responsible for damaging the optic nerve. The pressure can be reduced by putting some pressure lowering drops in the eye for a prolonged period. In advanced stages of the disease patients may require laser or surgical procedures. Since the damaged part of the optic nerve cannot be replaced or regenerated the aim of the treatment is to limit or halt further damage to the optic nerve. Hence, it is important to diagnose and treat Glaucoma in its early stages.