Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve and results in visual field loss. Glaucoma is mainly associated with abnormally high intraocular pressure, but elevated intraocular pressure does not necessarily indicate the presence of glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma will first cause the narrowing of the peripheral visual field and can cause complete loss of vision. Vision loss caused by glaucoma is irreversible. For that reason it is essential to diagnose and treat it early.
Types of glaucoma
Glaucoma can be divided into open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma. This “angle” refers to the openness of the duct through which the clear liquid called the aqueous humor produced in the eye flows. In the case of open-angle glaucoma, the drainage of the aqueous humor has slowed, whereas in the case of angle-closure glaucoma it has been blocked.
Symptoms of glaucoma
Generally, glaucoma has no early symptoms and only becomes noticeable later on as a narrowing of the visual field. In the case of acute angle-closure glaucoma, a person may experience sudden symptoms such as blurry vision, strong pain in the eyes, nausea and vomiting. If such symptoms occur, an eye doctor should be consulted immediately.
Measuring intraocular pressure can be considered the first step to diagnosing glaucoma. Intraocular pressure is measured during a routine eye examination and can be done in most vision shops. If glaucoma is suspected, you will be referred to an eye doctor.
The main treatment for glaucoma is eye drops that lower the intraocular pressure. Eye drops should be used as instructed by the eye doctor and their use should not be stopped as this will result in the progression of the disease. In addition to eye drops, various laser procedures to improve the drainage of the aqueous humor are used in the treatment of glaucoma.