Glaucoma - an illness with no symptoms, which can lead to blindness

Glaucoma - an illness with no symptoms, which can lead to blindness

26 December, 2016

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disorder characterized by increasing intraocular tension, which leads to pathological changes in the ophthalmic nerve. As a result, irreversible progressive and peripheral vision loss, up to the tunnel vision take place.

Worldwide, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness; therefore, yearly periodical prophylactic examinations are recommended from the age of 40 , especially for people with family history.

Risk factors for glaucoma

The main symptom of glaucoma is increased intraocular tension, which occurs as a result of impaired balance between production and elimination of fluid in the eye. The higher intraocular tension, the greater the probability of optical fibers to be affected and reduction in vision. As they are affected, black or "blind" spots and coning of vision gradually appear. 

Although the cause determining the development of glaucoma is unknown, there are certain factors that predispose to it:

  • Age above 40-45 yo
  • Hereditary factors
  • Related diseases - diabetes, hypertension and hypotension, migraines, severe myopia, etc.
  • Ocular hypertension
  • Ocular and cerebral traumas
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption

 

Glaucoma symptoms and diagnostics

In the early stages, glaucoma does not present any obvious symptoms and may cause discomfort only when vision is essentially affected.

Some symptoms which may precede glaucoma are:

  • Impaired visual acuity
  • The feeling of tension in the eyes
  • Impaired visual acuity in the twilight
  • Insignificant pain around the eye or headache
  • Near vision impairment
  • Presence of bright circles while looking at a source of light

In advanced stages, however, the progress towards blindness is more difficult to stop, even with appropriate treatment. 

Investigations to detect glaucoma are:

  • Measurement of intraocular tension (by contact and non-contact means)
  • Examination of the drainage angle
  • Biomicroscopy 
  • Ophthalmoscopy and retinoscopy
  • Examination of the field of vision
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)

These investigations allow your doctor to determine a diagnosis of glaucoma or evaluate its severity, therefore, after the age of 40, it is recommended to visit ophthalmologist every year.

Treatment of glaucoma

The treatment of glaucoma begins with eye drops administration, which contributes to the reduction of the intraocular tension  to normal levels. In case if eye drops do not provide the desired result, laser treatment can be applied, and in the advanced stages - surgical intervention is needed.

The surgery itself takes 10 to 30 minutes, but requires some preoperative preparation and postoperative care, which will be coordinated with the ophthalmologist. During the intervention the patient is conscious, being administered local anesthesia. He can feel certain manipulations around the eye, but no pain.

If after other interventions, such as cataract, for example, the effects can be seen shortly after surgery, the glaucoma treatment effect can be noticed only with time and consists of maintaining the visual functions.

 

Medpark Department of Ophthalmology deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the eye, eyelid and lacrimal system disorders. A top medical team is ready to provide the necessary help to both children and adults in order to identify and treat the most common and severe eye problems – glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, strabismus, refractive abnormalities and other conditions.

As much as the visual disturbances are diagnosed earlier, as much the chances of recovery and normal eyesight grow. Therefore, it is recommended to pass an eye exam at least once a year, and if you notice certain changes or symptoms of eye disorders, you should make an appointment to an ophthalmologist immediately.

For more details about Medpark Eye Surgery access the LINK.