Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatment
Glaucoma is a condition which makes sufferers experience visual the disturbances. According to the UN World Health Organization , glaucoma is the second largest cause of blindness worldwide after cataract.
The cause of glaucoma is ‘’increased pressure inside the eye’’ (intraocular pressure), due to the production of eye fluid overloads or due to the obstruction of liquid in the eye. This pressure can damage the nerve fibers of the retina or nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye and the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain as well. Up to now,it is not yet clear why the production of eye fluid can be excessive or why discharge channel can be clogged.
The symptoms of glaucoma can be:
- Pain in the eyes
- See the shadow of the circle around the light
- Flushed eyes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision is eventually narrowed to not be able to see the object at all
Two types of glaucoma are caused by pressure in the eye are open-angle glaucoma and closed angle. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. This is also known as chronic glaucoma due to emerging and developing slowly. Closed-angle glaucoma is much rarer and is known as acute glaucoma because it occurs suddenly. Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency condition because it can cause permanent blindness quickly.
Factors that can trigger inflammation and glaucoma is a severe infection of the eye. In addition, the risk of glaucoma also increases with the age of a person, especially if it is above 40 years.
The eye doctor will check the patients vision and the structure of the inside of the eye. A procedure to check the eye pressure will also be conducted. This procedure is called tonometry. The doctor will also conduct visual field tests to check whether the peripheral vision of the patient has been reduced.
It is important to consult a doctor immediately if you experience a decrease in vision that may have been caused by glaucoma. Eye damage is caused by glaucoma can not be cured, but the goal of the treatment of this condition is to reduce intraocular pressure in the eye and prevent widespread damage to the eyes. In general, glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser therapy and with surgical procedures.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Generally glaucoma is divided into two types which are closed angle glaucoma or acute glaucoma and open-angle glaucoma or chronic glaucoma.
In closed angle glaucoma, symptoms develop very quickly and require medical treatment to reduce the pressure in the eye as soon as possible. Symptoms of closed angle glaucoma which is an eye sore and a severe headache, vision becomes faint, eye redness, nausea and vomiting, such as seeing the shadow of the circle on the lamp, and vision suddenly impaired in conditions of dim light.
In open-angle glaucoma, sufferers hardly feel the damage in their eyes because the symptoms develop slowly. Traits of primary open-angle glaucoma is the reduced peripheral vision in both eyes slowly.
If glaucoma occurs in infancy or children, it is called congenital glaucoma. The symptoms will appear and will be recognized. But sometimes the symptoms are not easily identified. Congenital glaucoma symptoms can include watery eyes ,dewy look, eyes are very sensitive to light and eyes look enlarged due to high pressure in the eye. Crossed eyes can also indicate glaucoma in children.
Causes Of Glaucoma
Glaucoma occurs when pressure inside the eye increases due to the circulation of eye fluid is disturbed.This can damage optic nerve. Glaucoma can be divided into two, namely open-angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma.
Glaucoma is caused by blockage of fluid drainage of the eye, so that the pressure in the eye increases.
Closed angle glaucoma
The opposite of open-angle glaucoma, drainage of eye fluid is hindered because of the angle in between the iris and cornea is too narrow. These circumstances lead to the occurrence of increased intraocular pressure suddenly.
Although the cause of glaucoma is not yet known, the following factors are thought to play a role in increasing a person’s risk of experiencing glaucoma:
- Aged over 40 years.
- Never experienced an injury to the eye or eye surgery.
- Ever diagnosed experience eye pressure high or ocular hypertension.
- Suffering from diseases of the other eye such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, inflammation in the eyes and disorders on the retina.
- Have family members who also suffer from glaucoma.
- Using corticosteroid drugs long-term.
- Suffering from diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or an overactive thyroid gland.
Glaucoma can strike both eyes with different severity.
Eye doctor will need information regarding patient’s health history. And to strengthen the diagnosis, doctor will perform a number of tests, including:
Test tonometry:The examination for measuring the pressure inside the eye. Before the procedure is done, usually the eyes of the patient will be placed using a local anesthetic.
Tests perimetry or visual field tests : This examination aims to determine whether the patient has impaired peripheral vision due to glaucoma.
Gonioscopy Tests : This examination aims to check the angle between the iris and the cornea. The doctor will determine whether the angle between the iris and cornea is open or closed.
Ophthalmoscopy Test:This examination is done to determine the presence of damage to the optic nerve due to glaucoma. In this examination, the eyes of the patient will be given a special medicine that is dripped so that their pupil is enlarged. After that the doctor will examine the patient’s eye with a tool that functions the same as a microscope.
Pachymetry Test:This test is done to measure the thickness of the cornea. If the test results indicate that the cornea undergoes thickening, meaning that the intraocular pressure is also high and the patient is likely to suffer from glaucoma.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Glaucoma should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. If this condition is ignored, then the disease will continue to evolve and the sufferer can experience blindness. Eye damage caused by glaucoma can not be fully cured. However, the goal of treatment of this condition is to reduce intraocular pressure in the eye and prevent widespread damage to the eyes.
Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or surgical procedure.
Generally eye drops are often used to treat for open-angle glaucoma which is advised by a doctor. Drops is useful expedite the disposal of the eye fluid and reduce its production.
Several types of eye drops for glaucoma are:
- Alpha inhibitors, such as apraclonidine and brimonidine.
- Beta blocker, such as timolol and levobunolol.
- Prostaglandins , such as travoprost and bimatoprost.
Eye drops can be combined drugs as mentioned above to lower the level of pressure inside the eye.
Some of the potential side effects the use of eye drops for glaucoma are:
- Eyes irritation
- Red eyes
- Eyes feel dry and/or itchy
- Stinging sensation in the eyes
It’s important for You not to use eye drops without asking first at the doctor because it was feared some kind of drops have side effects that can affect the performance of the lungs or heart.
Drugs for Glaucoma
Doctor will prescribe glaucoma medications in pill form. The drugs are taken as inhibitors of carbonic anhydrase such as dorzolamide and brinzolamide.
Some of the side effects of pills for glaucoma are:
- Frequent urination
- Problems with memory
- Abdominal pain
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Kidney stones
Laser treatment can be applied to treat open-angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma. In open angle glaucoma, laser treatment can smooth the flow of eye fluid drainage and this procedure is able to eliminate the blockage of fluid. After the laser procedure, eye drops are usually still need to be used.
The same as laser treatment, surgical procedure in glaucoma is done if medicines are not able to reduce the pressure inside the eye.