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What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases causing optic nerve damage. The optic nerve carries images from the retina, which is the specialized light picking up tissue, to the brain so we can see. In glaucoma, eye pressure contributes in damaging the fragile nerve fibers of the optic nerve. When a significant number of nerve fibers are harmed, blind spots establish in the field of vision. As soon as nerve damage and visual loss occur, it is permanent.
The majority of people do not see these blind areas until much of the optic nerve damage has currently happened. If the whole nerve is damaged, blindness outcomes. Glaucoma is a leading reason for blindness in the world, particularly in older people. Early detection and treatment by your ophthalmologist are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and vision loss from glaucoma
What Causes Acute Glaucoma?
The precise reasons for optic nerve damage from glaucoma is not fully comprehended, but involves mechanical compression and/or reduced blood flow of the optic nerve. Although high eye pressure sometimes causes glaucoma, lots of people can also establish glaucoma with “normal” eye pressure.
What are the Different Types of Glaucoma?
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most typical form of glaucoma. The “open” drain angle of the eye can become obstructed resulting in gradual enhanced eye pressure. If this increased pressure results in optic nerve damage, it is known as chronic open-angle glaucoma. The optic nerve damage and vision loss typically happens so gradually and painlessly that you are not familiar with problem till the optic nerve is currently severely damaged.
Angle-closure glaucoma results when the drain angle of the eye narrows and ends up being totally blocked. In the eye, the iris might cut off the drainage angle and cause a dangerously high eye pressure. When the drainage angle of the eye unexpectedly becomes completely blocked, pressure builds up quickly, and this is called severe angle-closure glaucoma. The symptoms include severe eye pain, blurred vision, headache, rainbow haloes around lights, nausea and throwing up. Unless an ophthalmologist treats acute angle-closure glaucoma rapidly, blindness can result. When the drain angle of the eye slowly becomes totally obstructed, pressure develops slowly, and this is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. This form of glaucoma happens more frequently in individuals of African and Asian origins, and in specific eye conditions.
Other Types of Glaucoma
Not all kinds of glaucoma are characterized by eye pressures. In normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma, the optic nerve suffers damage with the resulting visual field loss even though normal eye pressures are maintained. Eyes afflicted with this condition are much more susceptible to optic nerve damage with any boost in the intraocular pressure as compared to other eyes.
- Exfoliation syndrome is a common type of open-angle glaucoma that results when there is a buildup of unusual, whiteish product on the lensand drain angle of the eye. This product and pigment from the back of the iris can obstruct the drainage system of the eye, causing increased eye pressure. This kind of glaucoma reacts well to laser treatment.
- Pigmentary glaucoma is a condition that usually affects young, nearsighted, Caucasian males. This condition is identified by the iris bowing backwards, and coming into contact with the assistance structures that hold the lens in location. This position interrupts the cells lining the back surface area of the iris consisting of pigment, and leads to a release of pigment particles into the drain system of the eye. This pigment can obstruct the drain and can lead to an increase in eye pressure. This form of glaucoma responds well to laser treatment.
Other types of glaucoma may be triggered by injuries to the eye, tumors, and other eye illness. An unusual type of glaucoma can even exist in children at birth.
Acute Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms
Unfortunately, most cases of glaucoma do not occur with easily noticable symptoms that caution of the permanent optic nerve damage being done. Nevertheless, the presence of the following indication, indicates that you need an extensive assessment by an optometrist:
- Uncommon difficulty adapting to dark rooms
- Difficulty concentrating on near or remote things
- Squinting or blinking due to uncommon level of sensitivity to light or glare
- Modification in color of iris
- Red-rimmed, encrusted or inflamed covers
- Recurrent pain in or around eyes
- Double vision
- Dark spot at the center of watching
- Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy
- Excess tearing or “watery eyes”.
- Dry eyes with itching or burning; and.
- Seeing spots, ghost-like images.
The following may be indications of possibly serious issues that may need emergency medical attention:.
- Abrupt loss of vision in one eye.
- Unexpected hazy or blurred vision.
- Flashes of light or black spots.
- Halos or rainbows around light.
The symptoms listed above might not always imply that you have glaucoma. Nevertheless, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, call your eye doctor for a complete test.
How Is Glaucoma Detected?
Routine eye examinations by your eye doctor are the best way to discover glaucoma. Your ophthalmologist will determine your eye pressure (tonometry); check the drain angle of your eye (gonioscopy); examine your optic nerve (ophthalmolscopy); and test the visual field of each eye (perimetry). Optic nerve assessment and visual field testing are carried out at regular periods to keep an eye on the results of glaucoma. The info from these tests offers a sign of the effectiveness of the treatment being made use of and whether further treatments might be essential. Not all these tests are essential for each individual, nor at every go to. The goal is to determine if glaucoma damage has advanced with time.
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
High eye pressure alone does not imply that you have glaucoma, but it is a crucial danger factor your eye doctor will use to determine your danger for developing the disease.
The most vital risk elements include:
- elevated eye pressure
- African ancestry
- thin cornea
- family history of glaucoma
- past injuries to the eyes
- steroid use
- a history of severe anemia or shock
According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, individuals with diabetes and hypertension might likewise have actually an increased danger of developing open-angle glaucoma (OAG). Check out the glaucoma study.
Your ophthalmologist will weigh all of these elements prior to choosing if you require treatment for glaucoma; or whether you must be kept track of frequently as a glaucoma suspect to identify the early signs of damage to the optic nerve.
Acute Glaucoma Treatment
The treatment for glaucoma relies on the nature and seriousness of each case. In general, glaucoma can not be cured, however it can be controlled. Eye drops, tablets, laser procedures, and surgeries are used to prevent or slow further damage from happening. With any type of glaucoma, routine eye examinations are extremely important to detect progression and to prevent vision loss. Because glaucoma can aggravate without your being aware of it, your treatment will likely have to be changed gradually to accomplish a lower “target eye pressure.”.
Glaucoma is commonly treated with eye drops taken routinely several times a day, often in combination with tablets. These medications will modify the blood circulation of eye fluid and lower eye pressure, either by decreasing the production of fluid within the eye, or by increasing the circulation leaving the drain angle. It is necessary to talk of your doctors about the eye medications you are using because glaucoma medications can have side-effects. You should alert your eye doctor instantly if you believe you may be experiencing side-effects. Side-effects from some eye drops might include a stinging feeling, red eyes, blurred vision, headaches, or modifications in pulse, heart beat or breathing. Side-effects from tablets might include tingling of fingers and toes, sleepiness, loss of cravings, bowel abnormalities, kidney stones, anemia or bleeding conditions.
Laser surgery is also effective for glaucoma treatment. Trabeculoplasty is laser treatment to enhance the eye drain age function to manage eye pressure within the eye when dealing with open-angle glaucoma. Iridotomy is laser treatment to produce tiny holes in the iris to improve the flow of eye fluid to the drain when treating narrow angle glaucoma.
When operative surgery is had to treat glaucoma, your eye doctor will use a microscope and specialized instruments to create a brand-new bypass drain channel for the eye fluid to leave the eye. The new channel assists to decrease the eye pressure. Surgery will be suggested only if your ophthalmologist feels the advantage of a lower eye pressure achieved with an operation outweighs possible complications and/or additional development of optic nerve damage.