What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and is a leading cause of preventable blindness. Although there are many variations of the disease, glaucoma results in a specific pattern of optic nerve damage and visual field loss. Many variations of this disease are characterized by elevated intraocular pressure.
There are two common types of glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. Your doctor may also call it wide-angle glaucoma. The drain structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) looks fine, but fluid doesn’t flow out like it should.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The fluid inside your eye usually flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel gets blocked, or the eye is producing too much fluid, the liquid builds up, causing pressure. Sometimes, experts don’t know what causes this blockage. But it can be inherited, meaning it’s passed from parents to children.
Other causes may include:
- Family history
- Association with other diseases like systemic hypotension, diabetes mellitus
- Burn or chemical injury to the eye or trauma to the eye
- Severe eye infection or inflammation (uveitis)
- Diseases of retina leading to abnormal vessels on the iris that may cause glaucoma
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
- Trabeculoplasty. This opens the drainage area.
- Iridotomy. This makes a tiny hole in your iris to let fluid flow more freely.
- Cyclophotocoagulation. This treats areas of the middle layer of your eye to lower fluid production.
A comprehensive eye exam can identify risk factors such as thin corneas, optic nerve asymmetry (a condition where the optic nerves do not appear as mirror images) and elevated intra-ocular eye pressure. READ MORE