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The Disease

 

Glaucoma refers to progressive damage of the optic nerve(the nerve that carries visual information to the brain) secondary to numerous causes, the most well known of which are raised intraocular pressure(IOP, the pressure inside the eye) and vascular(blood supply related) disturbances.

The essential feature of this condition is excavation of Optic Disc(the white portion of the disc) along with loss of the neuroretinal rim(the pink portion of the disc)

Glaucoma affects the peripheral vision first (our perception of things in and around our point of interest or fixation point when we look at something) and the central vision later. Hence, it might be very difficult to pick up glaucoma until the damage is advanced.

There are two major types of glaucoma :
Angle closure glaucoma: This is characterized by sudden pain, watering and decreased vision in the affected eye. This occurs when the passage for water being formed inside the eye(aqueous humor) is too narrow to allow egress(exit) of fluid.


Open angle glaucoma: This condition is often not detected by the patient until it is too late, as there are few, if any symptoms. Here, the passage for water, though open has some defects which allow incomplete egress of fluid.

 

A variety of tests are available for the diagnosis of glaucoma. These include: Visual Field analysis, Optical Coherence Tomography(OCT), corneal pachymetry and tonometry.

Treatment options include: medicines (in the form of eye drops, injections and tablets), laser therapy or surgery. The aim of glaucoma treatment is to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) to a level where further damage to the nerve fiber layers at the optic disc is minimized.

 

Changes in the optic disc are documented clinically by serial fundus photography.

 

The automated perimeter gives us the extent of damage that the optic nerve has already suffered and helps monitor the response to treatment.

The analysis of optic disc cupping, retinal nerve fiber layers, macular ganglion cell thickness and angle of the anterior chamber imaging is done by OCT.

 

The optimal intraocular pressure for your eye will be decided by your treating physician; it varies from individual to individual and factors in the damage that the eye has already suffered.

If you have glaucoma, or someone in the family has glaucoma, you need to get in touch with an ophthalmologist as early as possible.

 


If you get attacks of pain or redness, especially in dim light or in a movie theatre or when you wake up, there is a possibility that you have angle closure glaucoma.

You can avail of our family screening services for glaucoma. Remember that glaucoma is not a disease of the old; even babies can have glaucoma, which if left untreated can render the child blind for life.

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