Glaucoma is an eye disorder which results in progressive damage to the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries visual information from the retina to the brain. The condition has no known cause but is often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma first affects the peripheral or side vision and then progresses to the central vision.
Glaucoma (or what is known as the blue water) is considered one of the most common eye disease that cause vision loss in Qatar.
Glaucoma also comes as the second cause of blindness worldwide.
There are many causes for Glaucoma, the most common of which is high eye pressure result from defective aqueous humor secreted by ciliary tissues. High eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve tissues progressively, which leads to constricted visual field.
If the high eye pressure is not controlled it will result in complete damage in the optic nerve which will lead to loss of vision.
It is very important to know that, the damage part of the optic nerve is completely incurable. That is why early diagnosis and treatment are required to prevent the loss of vision.
Glaucoma tends to run in families. In some people, scientists have identified genes related to high eye pressure and optic nerve damage.
The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage of your condition. For example:
- Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye redness
If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Even with treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind in at least one eye within 20 years.
It mostly affects adults over 40, but young adults, children, and even infants can have it. African Americans tend to get it more often, when they're younger, and with more vision loss.
You’re more likely to get it if you:
- Are of African American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit, or Scandinavian descent
- Are over 40
- Have a family history of glaucoma
- Have poor vision
- Have diabetes
- Take certain steroid medications such as prednisone
- Have had an injury to your eye or eyes
- Have corneas that are thinner than usual
- Have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
- Have high eye pressure
- Are nearsighted or farsighted
- Open Angel Glaucoma.
- Acute Closed Angle Glaucoma.
- Secondary Glaucoma:
- As result of one of the following reasons:
- Repeated iris inflammations
- Long usage of Cortisone
- Eye trauma
- Sever cases of Cataract
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Congenital Glaucoma.
Regular screening for the early detection of glaucoma is important as the disease usually causes no visible symptoms. In most cases, an individual is unaware they have the condition until it has caused irreversible damage, which is why we are emphasizing the importance of regular eye exams. The frequency of screenings required should be determined based on age and the presence of risk factors.
The individuals with an increased risk of developing glaucoma should be tested every year or two years after the age of 35.
- The ophthalmologist would check the following:
- Eye pressure
- Angle of the Anterior Chamber using a special lens
- The optic nerve
- The visual field
Treatment of Glaucoma depend on determines the stage.
1. Eye drops. These either lower the creation of fluid in your eye or increase its flow out, lowering eye pressure. Some glaucoma drugs may affect your heart and lungs. Be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking or are allergic to.
2. Oral medication. Your doctor might also prescribe medication for you to take by mouth, such as a beta-blocker or a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. These drugs can improve drainage or slow the creation of fluid in your eye.
3. Laser surgery. This procedure can slightly raise the flow of fluid from your eye if you have open-angle glaucoma. It can stop fluid blockage if you have angle-closure glaucoma. Procedures include:
- Trabeculoplasty. This opens the drainage area.
- Iridotomy. This makes a tiny hole in your iris to let fluid flow more freely.
- Cyclophotocoagulation. This treats areas of the middle layer of your eye to lower fluid production.
4. Microsurgery. In a procedure called a trabeculectomy, your doctor creates a new channel to drain the fluid and ease eye pressure. This form of surgery may need to be done more than once. Your doctor might implant a tube to help drain fluid. This surgery can cause temporary or permanent vision loss, as well as bleeding or infection.
Infant or congenital glaucoma -- meaning you are born with it -- is usually treated with surgery because the cause is a problem with your drainage system.
These self-care steps can help you detect glaucoma in its early stages, which is important in preventing vision loss or slowing its progress.
- Have regular eye exams. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages, before significant damage occurs. As a general rule, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having a comprehensive eye exam every five to 10 years if you're under 40 years old; every two to four years if you're 40 to 54 years old; every one to three years if you're 55 to 64 years old; and every one to two years if you're older than 65. If you're at risk of glaucoma, you'll need more frequent screening. Ask your doctor to recommend the right screening schedule for you.
- Know your family's eye health history. Glaucoma tends to run in families. If you're at increased risk, you may need more frequent screening.
- Exercise safely. Regular, moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Walking or jogging at least three times a week might help lower the eye pressure.
- Take prescribed eye drops regularly. Glaucoma eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high eye pressure will progress to glaucoma. To be effective, eye drops prescribed by your doctor need to be used regularly even if you have no symptoms.
- Wear eye protection. Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma. Wear eye protection when using power tools or playing high-speed racket sports in enclosed courts