Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises; if left untreated, the patient may lose vision and even become blind.
Glaucoma is relatively common, especially in older adults and can cause damage to the optic nerve if left untreated.
In this article, we will cover the causes, symptoms, and treatment of glaucoma. We will also explain the different types and possible surgical procedures.
Fast facts on glaucoma:
Glaucoma has been called the silent thief of sight.
The main types of glaucoma are open-angle and closed-angle.
Age and thyroid problems increase the risk of glaucoma.
Symptoms can include severe eye pain.
Treatment includes surgery and medications.
What is glaucoma? In short, glaucoma is a build up of pressure within the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve.
There is a small space in the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. Clear liquid flows in and out of the anterior chamber, this fluid nourishes and bathes nearby tissues. If a patient has glaucoma, the fluid drains too slowly out of the eye. This leads to fluid build-up, and pressure inside the eye rises.
Unless this pressure is brought down and controlled, the optic nerve and other parts of the eye may become damaged, leading to loss of vision.The disease usually affects both eyes, although one may be more severely affected than the other.
Treatments for glaucoma
Treatments involve either improving the flow of fluid from the eye, reducing its production, or both:
Eyedrops for glaucoma
older man putting eye drops in his eye
Eyedrops are a common and effective treatment for glaucoma.
In the majority of cases, initial treatment for glaucoma includes eye drops.Compliance is vital for best results and to prevent undesirable side effects - this means following the doctor's instructions carefully.
Examples of eyedrops include:
carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
Side effects of eyedrops can include stinging, redness, eyelash growth, change in eye color and occasionally retinal detachments and difficulty breathing. If eyedrops are not effective enough, the doctor may prescribe an oral carbonic anhydrase inhibitor.
Side effects are less if they are taken during meals. Initial side effects can include tingling in the fingers and toes and frequent urination - however, after a few days, they usually resolve.
Much less commonly, there is a risk of rashes, kidney stones, stomach ache, weight loss, impotence, fatigue, and a strange taste when consuming fizzy drinks.