Eye Pressure (Glaucoma)

Glaucoma, also known as ocular hypertension, is a leading cause of  blindness over 60 years old.The aqueous humor is a clear fluid, produced in the eye by the ciliary body structured behind the iris. If the ciliary body produces too much aqueous or the aqueous does not drain enough  from the eye , the pressure in the eye increases causing ocular hypertension. It is a disease of the optic nerve( the part of the eye responsible for carrying the images to the brain ).The optic nerve is made upof huge numbers of nerve fibers. Damage to these nerve fibers is the result of increased pressure within the eye. The frequency of glaucoma increases with the age .Regular eye examination is so important for early diagnose as there are no outward signs of this insidious disease.To raise the awareness on glaucoma, 12 March is set as World Glaucoma Day.

Symptoms of glaucoma:

-Primary open angle glaucoma

-Angle closure glaucoma

Signs and symptoms of glaucoma differs from one another based on the mechanism of glaucoma. Headache, eye pain, nausea  blurred vision are the symptoms of acute glaucoma. Primary open angle glaucoma is more insidious as it does not reveal itself until the sight loss is up to 40 percent. After  this occurs ,the patient complains about a spot in his vision or  looking through a tunnel vision. At this point it may be too late for any treatment.

How is glaucoma treated?

After the optic nerve has damaged , sight loss is irreversible. In advanced cases the treatment is not possible. Because nerve tissue does not regenerate itself as opposed to many other tissues of the human body. This is why it is so important to diagnose glaucoma in its early stages and take necessary precautions. Anyone should visit an eye doctor every two years and get checked for ocular hypertension for this is an insidious disease which cannot be diagnosed without proper measurements  with high-tech equipments. However if it is  a hereditary condition ,glaucoma history of any immediate family member , you should definitely  see an eye specialist once a year.

Various treatments exist for different types of glaucoma as eye drops ,laser surgery and drainage surgery. But the basic principle of each treatment is to lower pressure in the eye. Eye drops reduce the production of the fluid in the eye or increase its outflow .Laser surgery and drainage surgery aims increasing aqueos humor outflow  to prevent the disease from advancing.