What is galucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition of the human eye where the optic nerve (the one that carries signals from the eye to the brain) gets damaged due to excessive pressure inside your eye. Since the optic nerve is the primary carrier of visual stimulus to the brain, damage to it could actually result in significant loss of vision. Glaucoma generally affects both the eyes, although the pressure inside each eye could be different..
We’ve been talking about this pressure building up inside your eyes for some time now. But why exactly would there be an increase in pressure, all of a sudden? So here’s what happens inside your eyes. The human eye can be divided into two segments – the anterior chamber that’s in front of the lens and the posterior chamber that’s behind the lens. Now, in the anterior chamber, the space between the cornea and our natural lens is filled with a fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid (which contains nutrients for the eye) is generated in the anterior chamber and is drained out of the eye through a mesh like structure. So as long as this production & drainage equation is proportionate, there’s no problem. However, the slightest of changes to production/draining equilibrium could result in increased intraocular pressure (intraocular – inside the eye chamber). And the rest, you already know – pressure leads to damage of optic nerve which in turn leads to loss of vision. Wide-angle and narrow-angle are the two types of glaucoma that you’ll generally come across and both result in increased intraocular pressure.
Typically, there are no early symptoms associated with Glaucoma. However, it is always safe to have your eyes checked annually to make sure they are healthy. For all you know, glaucoma might silently creep into your life without your slightest knowledge. To add up to the mess, total vision loss might just be around the corner, if glaucoma is left untreated. And this is exactly why every time you go to an ophthalmologist, he/she would check the pressure inside your eyes to make sure, you are not affected by Glaucoma. However, most Glaucoma patients visit a doctor due to one or more of the following symptoms:
Frequent changes of glasses, especially for near work, but none is satisfactory
Rainbow colored rings around lights (seeing halos)
Blurred or foggy vision
Loss of side vision
Redness of the eyes
There’s actually nothing you can do to prevent Glaucoma. However, with early detection, you could reduce the impact on the optic nerve, as the damage once done is irreversible. The best way to tackle this disease is through regular eye check ups. The normal range is around 10-20 mmHg. If your readings show a variation, further tests to gauge your field of vision and imaging to assess the damage to your optic nerve will be carried out.
Glaucoma can be treated with external medication or surgery. The medication generally involves the usage of eye drops to reduce the secretion of the fluid (aqueous humor). A surgery helps to open up the blocks in the drainage pipe to enable the outflow of the fluid. This can be performed by a procedure called Trabeculectomy (TRAB) or using LASER.