What Is Glaucoma?

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is chronic, progressive eye disease which leads to irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma can be associated with elevated eye pressures. Regular eye exams and appropriate testing to assess for glaucoma are critical to prevent vision loss and maintain good eye health.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, but if diagnosed and treated early, vision can be maintained.

There are different types of glaucoma, the most common of which are described below:

Signs and Symptoms of glaucoma

Glaucoma is generally a silent disease, meaning patients usually do not notice any visual changes until the advanced stage of the disease. Having regular eye examinations by an ophthalmologist can detect this disease in its early stages.

While evaluating patients for glaucoma, an ophthalmologist may enquire about the following:

What are the risk factors for glaucoma?

Some people tend to develop glaucoma more often as compared to normal individuals due to the following factors:

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

The following eye examinations are performed when evaluating a patient for glaucoma:

Diagnostic tests performed in the evaluation for glaucoma may include:

How is glaucoma managed?

Glaucoma may be managed with medical and surgical techniques. There are many medications and procedures available all designed to lower the intraocular pressure and stabilize glaucoma.

  1. Pharmacological management

All medications used in the management of glaucoma aim to lower the intraocular pressure. The following classes of medications are commonly prescribed. Talk to your ophthalmologist about which medication may be right for you. Be sure to discuss any medication allergies you may have, other medical conditions for which you take medicine, and expected side effects of the various drop therapies.

If you develop red-eye, pain, blurred vision, a change in heart rate, dry mouth, or any other adverse events, consult your doctor promptly.

  1. Laser surgery

Laser surgery, or selective laser trabeculoplasty, is also indicated as a primary or secondary therapy for glaucoma. This is a safe and effective way to lower the eye pressure, and may be used in conjunction with eye drops or in place of eye drops to help control glaucoma. Ask your ophthalmologist if you are a good candidate for laser.

  1. Surgical management

If eye pressure is uncontrolled with more conservative techniques, or if glaucoma is progressing despite medical therapy, surgery may be indicated. The following are common surgical procedures that may be used to treat primary open-angle glaucoma.

These are newer surgical techniques that may be used to treat open-angle glaucoma, alone or in conjunction with cataract surgery. Some of these procedures commonly performed at ESA include:

Prevention

The following steps may help you to detect glaucoma early which is critical for maintaining good vision:

REFERENCES

  1. What Is Glaucoma? (2021, June 15). American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
  2. Biggerstaff, K. S., MD. (2021, June 3). Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG): Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1206147-overview#:%7E:text=Glaucoma%20is%20currently%20defined%20as,of%20intraocular%20pressure%20(IOP).
  3. Glaucoma - Symptoms and causes. (2020, October 23). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839
  4. Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma? (2020, September 30). American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-risk
  5. Weinreb, R. N., Aung, T., & Medeiros, F. A. (2014). The pathophysiology and treatment of glaucoma: a review. JAMA, 311(18), 1901–1911. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.3192
Author
Eye Surgeons Associates Drs. Meiraj A. Siddiqui, Zuhair H. Peracha, Manal H. Peracha-Riyaz, Eric Zuckerman and Leila Siblani are dedicated to excellence in eye care and service. We utilize the latest treatment methods and procedures, including routine eye care, cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment, retinal disease management, diabetic eye treatment, and eyelid surgery.

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