Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the major vision nerve called the optic nerve is damaged. Optic nerve is connected to retina – a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining at the back of the eye. Thus, optic nerve receives light-generated nerve impulses from the retina and transmits these to the brain, where we recognize those electrical signals as vision.
Glaucoma can permanently damage the vision in the affected eye and can lead to blindness if left unattended. It is characterised by a particular pattern of progressive damage of the optic nerve that generally starts with elusive loss of peripheral vision i.e. the side vision and if it is not diagnosed and treated, it can aggravate the condition and lead to loss of central vision or blindness.
This eye disease is the second most common cause of blindness after cataract. And, it is mostly associated with intraocular pressure i.e. elevated pressure in the eye and this leads to damage of the optic nerve. In few cases, glaucoma may occur in the presence of normal eye pressure and this form of glaucoma is believed to be result of poor regulation of blood flow to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma has its different versions viz.
- Open-angle glaucoma – it is the most common form of glaucoma. It occurs very slowly over time and has no symptoms at the initial stages. Initially, slow loss of peripheral vision can be observed which can aggravate to cause blindness.
- Angle-closure glaucoma – symptoms in this type of glaucoma may appear and go at first and steadily becomes worse. It is also characterised by severe eye pain, decreased or steamy vision, nausea, vomiting, red eye and swollen eyes.
- Congenital glaucoma – this type of glaucoma occurs mostly in infants and its symptoms are appearance of cloudiness in the front of the eye, red eye, tearing and sensitivity to light.
- Secondary glaucoma – it happens as result of another eye problem or disease.
The most common way to treat glaucoma is through medicated eye drops. It helps in reducing the eye pressure and should be taken everyday like any other medication. It should be taken in a regularly as prescribed by the ophthalmologists.
The other treatment involves Iridotomy i.e. Laser therapy and if none of them are effective surgery is recommended.