Glaucoma – Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention

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Glaucoma – Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention

Just as a football needs air pressure to maintain its shape, eyeball needs intraocular fluid to retain its global shape. An interruption inflow of intraocular fluid leads to increased Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP), resulting in Glaucoma.

To understand the pathophysiology of Glaucoma, we will first try to understand the circulation of intraocular fluid. Ciliary body situated behind iris secretes a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid flows behind the iris and through the pupil to fill the anterior chamber of the eye. The aqueous exits the eye through drainage channels. Any disruption in this outflow of fluid leads to increased Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP). The reason for this blockage can be trauma, infection, inflammation, dandruff, diabetes, steroids or unknown. Rarely, an eye surgery can itself lead to this blockage.

We will now discuss 2 major types of Glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. Drainage channels look normal, but fluid does not flow out as expected, leading to increased IOP.

Angle-closure glaucoma in which the angle between iris and cornea is narrow, leading to obstruction to the outflow of intra-optic fluid. This can lead to a sudden rise in Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP).

Though IOP is raised in both the types, Glaucoma can occur with normal Intra-Optic Pressure as well. Glaucomanecessarily means damage to optic nerve with or without elevated IOP. To being with, it can be symptomless. Peripheral vision is impaired gradually finally leading to blindness. The objective is to prevent this blindness by early identification and proper treatment.

You might be curious to know how a disease without symptom can be identified early. Whenever you visit your Ophthalmologists for an eye checkup, get your retinoscopy done. Retinoscopy is a simple examination of Optic Nerve and Retina by Retinoscope after dilating pupils. American Association of Ophthalmology recommends yearly retinoscopy to all adults above 40 years of age, even without any disease or visual impairment. If you have diabetes, family history of Glaucoma or other risk factors, you may need to be screened more often. Scrutinizing the changes in optic nerve helps in early diagnosis and start of treatment. The objective of treatment is to delay the progression of the disease and outlive the blindness. Glaucoma can be managed and blindness delayed by medication, laser or surgery as advised by an expert Ophthalmic Surgeon or Glaucoma specialist. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years. No wonder it is known ‘Silent Thief of EyeSight’.

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