Glaucoma is a disease characterised by usually high pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve and may lead to permanent loss of vision. Not all 3 criteria (that is, high pressure inside the eye, optic nerve damage, and vision loss) are required to diagnose glaucoma; however, a diagnosis of glaucoma is certain when all 3 criteria are present.
There are 2 main types of glaucoma:
- Open-Angle Glaucoma
- Angle Closure Glaucoma
The fluid of the eye (aqueous) circulates through anterior chamber and passing through the angle exits from the eye into the Canal of Schlemn. In open-angle glaucoma, the passage to the canal of Schelmn offers resistance to the flow of aqueous. In angle-closure glaucoma the angle of the chamber is narrow or gets closed preventing the drainage of aqueous from the eye. Both the situations lead to increase in intraocular pressure.
Open-angle type of glaucoma usually does not give rise to any symptoms in early stages. In late stages, patients may feel pain in eyes and discomfort, and some individuals may notice field defects (inability to see certain areas of the field of vision). Usually, this type of glaucoma is diagnosed on examination by an eye specialist either when he suspects it because of some risk factors or during the course during the course of a routine examination.
Angle-closure type of glaucoma can give rise to pain in the eye and headache with vomiting, seeing coloured rings (haloes) around lights and redness in the eyes usually after coming out of a movie theatre. This type of glaucoma may occur as sudden attacks where there is severe pain in the eye, redness, watering, vomiting and blurring of vision.
The treatment options for glaucoma include:
The treatment is decided by many factors:
- Type of glaucoma
- Stage of glaucoma
- Damage done
- Status of the other eye
- Response to other treatment already taken
- Patient compliance or reliability about taking drugs and follow up examination.
The decision regarding what treatment and when to be used should be left to the judgment of consulting eye surgeon.
Detected early and treated properly, glaucoma is perfectly compatible with lifelong good vision. If neglected it can end in blindness.