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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) resulting either from a malformation or malfunction of the eye's drainage structures . Although raised intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma, there is no set threshold for intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma. Left untreated, an elevated IOP causes irreversible damage the optic nerve and retinal fibers resulting in a progressive, permanent loss of vision. Glaucoma is not just one disease, but a group of them. The common feature of these diseases is damage to the optic nerve, usually accompanied by an abnormally high pressure inside your eyeball. It's like an electric cable made up of thousands of individual wires carrying the images from the inside back wall of your eyeball (retina) to your brain. Blind spots develop in your visual field when the optic nerve deteriorates, usually starting with your peripheral (side) vision. Fortunately, medical advances have made it easier to diagnose and treat glaucoma. If detected and treated early, glaucoma need not cause even moderate vision loss. But having glaucoma does mean regular monitoring and treatment for the rest of your life.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the optic nerve involving loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern of optic neuropathy . Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. Eye pressure is largely independent of blood pressure. As the diagram below shows, this nerve carries information from the light sensitive layer in your eye, the retina, to the brain where it is perceived as a picture. In the United States, approximately 2.2 million people age 40 and older have glaucoma, and of these, as many as 120,000 are blind due the disease. African Americans experience glaucoma at a rate of three times that of Caucasians and experience blindness four times more frequently. Between the ages of 45 and 64, glaucoma is fifteen times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians. Developmental glaucoma mostly affects babies and young children. It is rare but potentially serious and is caused by malformation of the eye. Unfortunately, the vision lost to glaucoma is gone forever. Medications and surgery can help slow the progression of the disease, but there is no cure.

Causes of Glucoma

Causes of Glucoma :

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Alaska Natives, occurring 6-8 times more often than in whites, often in the earlier stages of life
  • Nausea and vomiting may occur.
  • No one knows why certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans, have higher rates of glaucoma that lead to blindness.
  • Congenital glaucoma, which is present at birth, is the result of abnormal development of the fluid outflow channels of the eye.
  • Secondary glaucoma is caused by other diseases, including eye diseases such as uveitis , systemic diseases, and drugs such as corticosteroids.
  • Elevated IOP is still considered a major risk factor for glaucoma, though, because studies have shown that the higher the IOP is, the more likely the optic nerve will be damaged.
  • This causes a quick, severe, and painful rise in the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure)
  • Angle closure (acute) glaucoma is caused by a shift in the position of the iris of the eye that suddenly blocks the exit of the aqueous humor fluid.

Symptoms of Glucoma

Some Symptoms of Glucoma :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intense eye pain
  • Swollen or clouded cornea
  • Halos around lights
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Reddening of the eye
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Severe pain and vision loss
  • Sudden increase in IOP
  • Headaches (primarily in the morning)

Treatment of Glucoma

  • These are the most common form of treatment and must be used regularly. In some cases pills are prescribed. The drops can be varied to best suit the patient and the type of glaucoma.
  • Laser surgery for glaucoma slightly increases the outflow of the fluid from the eye in open-angle glaucoma or eliminates fluid blockage in angle-closure glaucoma.
  • Epinephrine compounds are eye drops that lower the intraocular pressure by increasing the rate of aqueous humor flow out of the eye.
  • Alpha adrenergic agonists are topical medications used to reduce the aqueous humor production and increase aqueous humor outflow.
  • Laser or surgical treatment may be used when medical treatment isn't sufficiently effective.
  • Blindness will occur in a few days if it is not treated.
  • blockers (available as eye drops or pills) help decrease the rate at which the aqueous humor flows into the eye this type of medication includes topical timolol (Timoptic), levobunolol (Betagan), betaxolol (Betaoptic-S), Iopidine and Ocupress.

 


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