What is Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma encompasses a group of diseases that pose a threat to one’s vision and can gradually result in vision loss without any warning signs. Often referred to as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma may progress silently in its early stages, leading to vision loss despite the absence of noticeable symptoms. While glaucoma can manifest at any age, individuals over 60 years old face a significantly higher risk. There are various types of glaucoma, with open-angle glaucoma being the most common among adults, while angle-closure glaucoma represents another primary type.

How Glaucoma Develops

In most forms of glaucoma, the eye’s drainage system is affected. The anterior chamber, a small space at the front of the eye, plays a crucial role. Here, the ciliary body, a tiny gland, produces a fluid known as aqueous humor, which circulates through this chamber, nourishing the cornea and lens. The fluid then exits through the trabecular meshwork, a minute, spongy tissue located at the angle where the iris and cornea meet.

However, if the outflow system becomes obstructed, the aqueous humor cannot exit the eye as swiftly as it is produced. Consequently, pressure within the eye increases. This elevated pressure damages the optic nerve, responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain. Once the optic nerve sustains damage, it is irreversible, leading to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of glaucoma are crucial in preventing vision loss.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

The symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on its type. In many cases of chronic glaucoma, symptoms are not readily apparent until the disease has progressed significantly, as it typically advances slowly. Consequently, individuals with this form of glaucoma may remain unaware that their vision is being compromised. Peripheral vision loss typically precedes central vision loss in chronic glaucoma.

On the other hand, symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma (CAG) manifest rapidly. Some indications of CAG include severe eye pain (which can occur within or around the eye), eye redness, headaches, tenderness upon touch around the eye area, and the perception of halos or “rainbow-like” rings around lights.

Treatment of Glaucoma

The goal of glaucoma treatment is to decrease intraocular pressure by enhancing the outflow of aqueous humor and reducing its production, thereby safeguarding vision from damage. Treatment modalities encompass eye drops, oral medications, and surgical interventions. Your doctor will tailor the treatment plan according to the specific type of glaucoma and the severity of symptoms. Timely detection of glaucoma coupled with suitable treatment measures plays a pivotal role in preventing vision loss.