Glaucoma is an eye disorder that occurs when the intraocular pressure (pressure within the eye) increases. Glaucoma can cause blindness if not treated. The increased intraocular pressure damages the optic nerves and causes loss of vision that may progress to complete blindness. In a healthy eye, intraocular fluid is generated and discharged continuously. Thus, intraocular pressure is maintained at normal levels. If the discharge of intraocular fluid is blocked, intraocular pressure increases, resulting in glaucoma. In general, intraocular pressure below 19 – 20 mmHg is considered normal. However, glaucoma can be seen at lower pressures. Glaucoma is an insidious disorder that progresses over years. Vision is progressively impaired and damage has been already done when the patient begins to suffer complaints. Since the optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, early diagnosis is important.
What are risk factors for glaucoma?
• Family history of glaucoma
• Elevated intraocular pressure
• Advanced age
• Diabetes mellitus
• High myopia or hypermetropia
• Eye injuries
How is glaucoma treated?
In glaucoma, treatment modalities vary based on etiology and the severity of disease. In general, drug therapy is the first choice of treatment. The goal of the treatment is to preserve the vision of the patient. Laser or surgical treatment is performed if damage persists.