Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness
There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma
There may be no symptoms to warn you
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the
world, according to the World Health Organization.
Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of
glaucoma at around 65 million worldwide.
It is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight
without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there
may be no symptoms. Experts estimate that half of the people
affected by glaucoma may not know they have it.
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This
nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires.
It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the
There is no cure for glaucoma-yet. However, medication or
surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The
appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma
among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping
the progress of the disease.
It was once thought that high pressure within the eye, also
known as intraocular pressure or IOP, is the main cause of
this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk
factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved
because even people with "normal" levels of pressure can
experience vision loss from glaucoma.
Adult glaucoma falls into two categories-
open angle glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma . These are
marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), or
pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has
occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called normal tension
glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which
another disease causes or contributes to increased eye
pressure, resulting in optic nerve
Symptoms of angle closure glaucoma may
include headaches, eye pain, nausea, rainbows around lights
at night, and very blurred vision.
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However,
certain groups are at higher risk than others. People at
high risk for glaucoma should get a complete eye exam,
including eye dilation, every one or two years
The following are groups at higher
risk for developing glaucoma
|People Over 60
Family Members with Glaucoma
Other Risk Factors
High Myopia (nearsightedness)
Central corneal thickness less than .5 mm
SRN specialists continuously fight the
severe consequences of not detecting the disease in its
early stages To achieve an accurate assessment, experienced
ophthalmologists perform a comprehensive glaucoma screening
that consists of three non-invasive, pain-free procedures:
Measurement of intraocular eye pressure (IOP)
with Applanation tonometry.
Gonioscopy -To assess type of glaucoma and management
Assessment of the optic nerve .A non-invasive slit lamp
biomicroscope is used to determine whether or not there are
changes in the optic nerve in the diagnosis for glaucoma.
Assessment of retinal nerve fibre layer It is earliest site
of damage. We have GDx VCC (Carl zeiss ,Germany) for earliest
Evaluation of a patient's visual field with Humphreys
Perimeter, Zeiss Germany Glaucomatous damage produces
characteristic defects in the visual field.
Glaucoma treatment seeks to decrease
intraocular pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Different types of glaucoma require different therapies to
prevent further damage to the eye's structures. At the
beginning of treatment, the doctor will generally recommend
medication or a combination of medications for the specific
Therapies may include:
Eye drops (or a combination of eye drops and pills) to
reduce intraocular pressure. Several different classes of
glaucoma medications are available to provide pressure
reduction including beta blockers, prosaglandin analogues,
alpha adrenergic agaonists, miotic, epinephrine compounds,
and oral and topical carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. These
medications work by either reducing the rate at which fluid
in the eye is produced or increase the outflow of fluid from
Laser treatment to open the drainage angle and reduce
Surgery to create a new passage for fluid drainage. Surgery
is usually reserved for cases that cannot be controlled by
medication and following appropriate laser treatment.
Regular diagnostic examinations by an
ophthalmologist are the key to preventing loss of vision due
to glaucoma. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors,
specialists in eye care and trained to examine and treat eye
diseases. Although there is no way to reverse damage, if
glaucoma is diagnosed and treated early, blindness almost
always is preventable.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Although the blindness associated with this disease is
preventable, more than one million people in the United
States have some glaucoma-related vision loss. In most
cases, glaucoma is asymptomatic (has no symptoms). By the
time an individual experiences decreased vision, the disease
is frequently in its latter stages. Since early warning
signs of glaucoma are rare, it is important --- especially
for those at risk --- to have medical eye examinations at
appropriate intervals, as described in this section.
Those who have chronic glaucoma may not be
aware of any symptoms because the disease develops slowly
and patients rarely notice loss of peripheral vision.
Those who have an acute form of glaucoma may develop severe
symptoms because ocular pressure rises quickly and they may
Blurred vision, especially at night
Halos or rainbows around lights
Severe headaches or eye pain
The eye has an internal pressure created by
production of a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid
circulates through the eye and exits through the anterior
chamber angle and ultimately drains into the blood stream.
In glaucoma, the aqueous humor outflow is obstructed,
resulting in increased eye pressure and, eventually, optic
Prescription eye drops for glaucoma help maintain the
pressure in your eye at a healthy level and are an important
part of the treatment routine for many people. Always check
with your doctor if you are having difficulty.
Follow your doctor's orders.
Be sure your doctor knows about any other drugs you may be
taking (including over-the-counter items like vitamins,
aspirin, and herbal supplements) and about any allergies you
Wash your hands before putting in your eye drops.
Be careful not to let the tip of the dropper touch any part
of your eye.
Make sure the dropper stays clean.
If you are putting in more than one drop or more than one
type of eye drop, wait five minutes before putting the next
drop in. This will keep the first drop from being washed out
by the second before it has had time to work.
Store eye drops and all medicines out of the reach of
Start by tilting your head backward while
sitting, standing, or lying down. With your index finger
placed on the soft spot just below the lower lid, gently
pull down to form a pocket.
Let a drop fall into the pocket.
Slowly let go of the lower lid. Close your eyes but try not
to shut them tight or squint. This may push the drops out of
Gently press on the inside corner of your closed eyes with
your index finger and thumb for two to three minutes. This
will help keep any drops from getting into your system and
keep them in your eye, where they are needed.
Blot around your eyes to remove any excess.
If you are still having trouble putting eye drops in, here
are some tips that may help.
If Your Hands Are Shaking
Try approaching your eye from the side so
you can rest your hand on your face to help steady your
If shaky hands are still a problem, you might try using a 1
or 2 pound wrist weight (you can get these at any sporting
goods store). The extra weight around the wrist of the hand
you're using can decrease mild shaking.
If You Are Having Trouble Getting The Drop Into Your Eye
Try This. With your head turned to the side
or lying on your side, close your eyes. Place a drop in the
inner corner of your eyelid (the side closest to the bridge
of your nose). By opening your eyes slowly, the drop should
fall right into your eye.
If you are still not sure the drop actually got in your eye,
put in another drop. The eyelids can hold only about one
drop , so any excess will just run out of the eye. It is
better to have excess run out than to not have enough
medication in your eye.
Having Trouble Holding Onto The Bottle?
If the eye drop bottle feels too small to hold (in cases
where a dropper isn't used and the drop comes directly from
the bottle), try wrapping something (like a paper towel)
around the bottle. You can use anything that will make the
bottle wider. This may be helpful in some mild cases of
arthritis in the hands.
Assistive devices are available to help you put in your eye