Glaucoma is the most common cause of permanent blindness in the globe, and the second most common cause in the United States. Glaucoma affects an estimated three million individuals in the United States, with that figure predicted to rise to 6.3 million in the next 30 years.
Glaucoma is more frequent in individuals over the age of 60, though it can strike anybody at any age. While there is presently no treatment for glaucoma, if the illness is detected and treated early enough, visual loss can be delayed or prevented.
Glaucoma is frequently linked with a rise in intraocular pressure. Healthy eyes generate aqueous fluid, which passes through and out of the eye. This mechanism does not operate correctly in glaucoma, resulting in increased eye pressure and optic nerve damage.
The shape of the drainage route at the front of the eye (known as the angle) through which aqueous fluid travels determines the two primary forms of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
The angle seems open in open-angle glaucoma, but pressure control is inadequate due to a variety ocular reasons, including drainage issues. Both high and normal ocular pressures can cause this type of glaucoma (normal-tension glaucoma). Both kinds can cause vision loss and optic nerve injury.
The angle in angle-closure glaucoma is narrow, and the structural issues that ensue might cause an abrupt closing of the drainage channel, resulting in a rise in ocular pressure. Acute angle closure is the medical term for this ailment.
Although uncommon, acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency that necessitates prompt treatment with medication, laser, or surgery since it can result in permanent blindness. Angle-closure glaucoma can also be diagnosed and treated in a chronic form, in which the increase in ocular pressure is more gradual and typically without symptoms.
What people are at risk for glaucoma ?
While numerous related genes have been discovered, the fundamental causes of glaucoma remain unknown.
However, a number of key risk factors have been discovered, including the following:
- More than 60 years old (40 for African Americans)
- A first-degree relative with glaucoma
- Hispanic or African-American ancestry
- Descent from East and Southeast Asia (for angle-closure glaucoma)
- Several eye operations or a history of eye trauma
- Diabetic eye disease is an example of a chronic eye illness.
- Near-sightedness or far-sightedness
- The usage of steroid drugs
What are some of the signs and symptoms of glaucoma ?
For years, most persons with glaucoma, especially those with open-angle or normal-tension glaucoma, may have no or very few symptoms. It’s perhaps not surprise that half of all glaucoma cases go undetected, highlighting the importance of frequent eye exams beginning around age 40. An eye care expert will be able to recognise glaucoma symptoms before you do, and prompt treatment is critical to minimizing disease progression and vision loss.
Early indications of glaucoma include a loss of peripheral vision and trouble with low contrast. Patients experience loss of their visual field, or blind patches, in later stages, which eventually leads to central vision loss.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency that involves discomfort, impaired vision, and nausea.
What are your treatment options ?
Although there is no cure for glaucoma at this time, early treatment can help delay or stop visual loss. Treatment for glaucoma use bimat with brush and/or may involve medicines and/or surgery to reduce eye pressure, depending on a variety of factors such as your age and the kind and severity of your glaucoma.
Eye drops that attempt to enhance fluid outflow or reduce fluid production are among the medications available. In the event of angle-closure glaucoma, laser is occasionally used to improve drainage (in the angle) or produce a hole in the iris, or coloured portion of the eye.
Filtering surgery and tube-shunt surgery are two surgical procedures that can be used to construct an alternative fluid drainage channel in the eye. Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, is a new surgical technique that uses microscopic-sized stents and shunts to improve fluid outflow.
Glaucoma treatment in the future
Glaucoma research continues to advance our understanding of the disease’s causes and the development of more focused and individualized therapies. Beyond the basic categories outlined above, there are subtypes of glaucoma that many people feel would benefit from different therapies.
Genetic testing may be used in the future to estimate an individual’s risk of getting glaucoma over time. Neuroprotection (the therapy of preventing the loss of nerve cells in the retina and optic nerve) has also shown potential. To make surgery more safe and successful, researchers are researching novel medicines, medication delivery methods, and technologies.