What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma starts mostly after the 40s without any symptoms and increases the eye tension. It is especially a condition of the optical nerves which transacts the images from the eye to the brain. Optical nerves are combined forms of the multiple nerve tendons. If those nerval tendons are damaged somehow, blind spots in the visual field might occur. Those blind spots mostly cannot be early diagnosed and when the nerval tendon is too much damaged; it’s too late which might lead to total blindness. Early diagnose of the glaucoma is very important in order to prevent any nerval tendon damages and blindness.
Why Do We Have Glaucoma?
There is a transparent liquid at the front side of the eye called Aqueous Humour. In order to keep the eye pressure balanced, this liquid is produced by the eye and same amount is ejaculated simultaneously. Aqueous Humour is ejaculated from a microscopic channel system out of the eye which is totally different than tears. Since the eye is a closed system, when this microscopic channel (drainage angle) is blocked, the extra amount of liquid cannot be sent out; the intraocular pressure increases, stresses the optical nerves and damages it.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF THE GLAUCOMA
Open Angle Glaucoma: It’s the most encountered type of the glaucoma. It develops with the age. By time the microscopic channel system gets deficient, increasing the intraocular pressure and damaging the optical nerves. Sometimes optical nerves get highly sensitive even to the normal pressure of the eye. A treatment is highly recommended in order to prevent visual impairment
Closed Angle Glaucoma: When the Iris (the part which gives colour to the eye) blocks the microscopic channel system, “Closed Angle Glaucoma” occurs. This might be observed more likely with smaller eyes and eyes with hypermetropia. The Iris blocks the drain angle, the intra ocular liquid cannot be evacuated, creating the glaucoma.
Nausea and sickness
Pain in the eye
Rainbow alike waves around the sources of light
These are the sign of an emergency for your eye, and you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately. If not cured, this type of glaucoma might lead to visual impairment
Unfortunately, early diagnoses in 2/3 of closed angle glaucoma patients are not possible.
Risk Factors of the Glaucoma
High Intra Ocular Pressure
Myopia, Hypermetropia or Traumas
Diabetes, migraine, circulatory problems
Your ophthalmologist will evaluate all the factors to see if you will need a treatment against glaucoma or a follow-up. A suspicion for a glaucoma shows that you are in the high-risk group, and you will need regular follow ups in order to prevent potential damages in optical nerves.
How is the Glaucoma Detected?
Regular checks with your ophthalmologist are the best way to detect Glaucoma. The measurement of your intra ocular pressure is not enough to detect the glaucoma. A full check-up of the eye should be performed.
What will your ophthalmologist be controlling during your examination?
Intra ocular pressure (Tonometry)
Drainage Angle (Gonioscopy) What
Damages on the optical nerves (Ophthalmoscopy)
Visual Field Evaluation (Perimetry)
It is recommended to have a computer assisted screening and photography of the optical nerves. Those methods might not be necessary for everyone however, those tests might be repeated for follow-up
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma related damages in the eye are irreversible. Eye drops, laser surgeries or surgical interventions are performed to prevent any further defects and sometimes oral medication can be applied
Medical treatments of glaucoma
Glaucoma can be controlled with daily eye-drops. Those medication can decrease the intra ocular pressure, the production of aqueous humour liquid or helps the evacuation of the liquid. It Is important to listen to the instructions of the ophthalmologist and not to change and stop your medication. If your medication is running low, you should consult your ophthalmologist for further treatments.
Possible Side-effects of some eyedrops
Burning or itching
Changes in the heartrate
Changes in your energy level
Changes in breathing
Dry mouth – changes of taste
Changes in eye-colour
Please don’t forget to inform your ophthalmologist about the other regular medications you are taking.
Laser Surgery for The Treatment of Glaucoma
Laser treatment can be recommended for various types of Glaucoma. The microscopic channel system can directly be treated by laser in the open angle glaucoma. Laser is used to control the intra-ocular pressure by creating changes in the channel system (Trabeculoplasty). By the closed angle glaucoma, the laser is used to open a hole on Iris (Iridotomy) so that the drainage of aqueous humour liquid can be corrected.
A new channel is created by the surgeon using very thin & unique surgical equipment so that the aqueous humour liquid can be ejaculated from the eye (trabeculectomy). A surgical intervention might be recommended by your ophthalmologist in order to prevent further damage to the optical nerves. Like laser treatment, the surgical interventions also don’t need hospitalization.
What Is Your Role in The Treatment?
Glaucoma treatment is a teamwork with the patient and the doctor. The doctor might recommend a treatment however, it is the patient’s duty to apply and stick to the instructions.
When you start the treatment for the glaucoma, your ophthalmologist will call you more often for follow up controls. You should be ready to have control appointments every 3 or 4 months. This might be changed due to the course of your treatment. These regular controls & follow-ups will prevent any potential impairment risks.
Recommended Checks for Different Ages
Between 20 - 29 Years Old: Every 3 - 4 Years if a family member has Glaucoma history.
Between 30 - 39 Years Old: Every 2 - 3 Years if a family member has Glaucoma history.
Between 40 - 64 Years Old: Every 2 years
65 Years old and older: Once in a year.