Glaucoma is an eye disease that is associated with elevated intraocular pressure which damages the eye (optic) nerve. It can lead to loss of vision and even blindness.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of an optic nerve. The optic nerve receives light-generated nerve impulses from the retina and transmits these to the brain to recognize those electrical signals as vision. Glaucoma is a buildup 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.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of irreversible blindness. Glaucoma initially causes no symptoms, and the subsequent loss of side vision (peripheral vision) is usually not recognized that why half of these individuals with glaucoma may not know that they have the disease.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The posterior chamber continuously makes a clear fluid called aqueous humour. This fluid goes to the front part of your eye called anterior chamber. Then, it leaves your eye through channels in your cornea and iris. If these channels are blocked or partially obstructed, the natural pressure in your eye, which is called the intraocular pressure (IOP), may increase. As your IOP increases, your optic nerve may become damaged. As damage to your nerve progresses, you may begin losing sight in your eye.
The major risk factors for glaucoma include the following:
- Old age
- Family history of glaucoma
- Black racial ancestry
- Diabetes and hypothyroidism
- History of elevated intraocular pressure
- Decrease in corneal thickness and rigidity
- Nearsightedness (high degree of myopia), which is the inability to see distant objects clearly
- History of injury to the eye
- Use of cortisone (steroids), either in the eye or systemically (orally or injected)
What are the different types of Glaucoma?
There are two main types: open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma.
Closed-angle glaucoma (acute angle-closure glaucoma)
This can come on suddenly; the patient commonly experiences pain and rapid vision loss.
Fortunately, the symptoms of pain and discomfort make the sufferer seek medical help, resulting in prompt treatment, which usually prevents any permanent.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (chronic glaucoma)
This progresses very slowly. The patient may not feel any symptoms; even slight loss of vision may go unnoticed. In this type of glaucoma, many people do not get medical help until permanent damage has already occurred.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Patients with open-angle glaucoma and chronic angle-closure glaucoma, in general, have no symptoms early in the course of the disease.
The signs and symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma are quite different:
Symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma
- Peripheral vision is gradually lost.
- No other symptoms, until this, become severe.
Symptoms of closed angle glaucoma
- Eye pain, usually severe.
- Blurred vision.
- Accompanied by nausea and sometimes vomiting.
- Red eyes.
- Sudden, unexpected vision problems, especially when lighting is poor.
However, the optic-nerve damage and visual loss resulting from glaucoma can be prevented by earlier diagnosis, effective treatment, and compliance with treatment. Secondary types of glaucoma can often be prevented by avoidance of trauma to the eye and prompt treatment of eye inflammation and other diseases of the eye or body that may cause secondary forms of glaucoma.
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