The green ring outlining the gradual enlarging of optic nerve "cup" shows the progression of the Glaucoma disease
Glaucoma can be caused by increased pressure of the fluid in the eye. The inside of the eye contains fluid that is constantly flowing into and being drained out of the eye. If the drainage mechanism in an area called Trabecular meshwork gets blocked, fluid starts accumulating in the eye, exerting pressure inside the eye. This extra fluid that builds up in the eye presses against the optic nerve at the back of the eye, thus damaging parts of the optic nerve. This damage appears as gradual visual changes and then loss of vision, if it remains untreated.
TYPES OF GLAUCOMA
Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma, known as chronic open angle (COAG) or primary open angle, occurs when the canals draining the eye of aqueous humor become clogged. This blockage can gradually increase pressure within the eye to damaging levels. No pain occurs, so individuals are usually unaware that these changes are occurring. There are no early signs or symptoms but over the years vision will be lost starting in the periphery and moving towards the central vision.
Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma
When eye pressure builds up rapidly, it is called acute angle-closure glaucoma. This type of glaucoma commonly occurs in individuals who have narrow anterior chamber angles. In these cases, aqueous fluid behind the iris cannot pass through the pupil thus pushing the iris forward, preventing aqueous drainage through the angle. It is as though a sheet of paper floating near a drain suddenly drops over the opening and blocks the flow out of the sink. In cases of acute angle closure glaucoma, one may experience blurred vision, halos around lights, deep pain behind the eye, nausea, and vomiting.
Nethradhama advises its patients to have periodic eye examinations for early detection of glaucoma
RISK FACTORS FOR GLAUCOMA
High pressure alone does not mean that you have glaucoma. In Nethradhama we put together many kinds of information to determine your risk for developing this disease. The most important risk factors include:
- Age (Over 40 years
- Near-sightedness (Myopia)
- A family history of glaucoma
- Past injuries to the eyes
- A history of severe anemia or shock
- Diabetes/ Hypertension
In Nethradhama the glaucoma specialist will weigh all of these factors before deciding whether you need treatment for glaucoma, or whether you should be monitored closely as a glaucoma suspect. Being glaucoma suspect means your risk of developing glaucoma is higher than normal, and you need to have regular examination to detect the early signs of damage to the optic nerve.