What Is Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye. It is a progressive disease that occurs when optic nerve becomes damaged inside the eye or around the iris. This damage causes abnormal flow of fluid in the glaucoma which causes damage to the optic nerve. The disease occurs with cataract. Cataract is an eye disease caused due to accumulation of fluid in the eye, usually due to protein deposits in the eye, and it results in vision loss and leading to pressure in the eye.
How Glaucoma Occurs
Glaucoma can occur in many forms. Open angle glaucoma occurs when the opening of the iris narrows abnormally. This type of glaucoma causes pressure on the optic nerve which can cause damage to the optic nerve. Narrow angle glaucoma occurs when the opening of the iris narrows at an angle and is called as “open angle glaucoma”. In this form, pressure on the optic nerve does not develop on its own but develops suddenly due to development of intraocular pressure.
Currently, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. The prevalence of glaucoma symptoms has been increasing. And with the occurrence of various types of diseases and the increasing age of individuals, the risk of developing this type of glaucoma increases even more. The best way to prevent glaucoma is through early detection.
Ways To Detect Glaucoma
Currently, there are various ways to detect the presence of glaucoma. One such way is by means of eye examination called the ocular examination. Eye examination can detect the presence of glaucoma. Eye examination done by trained doctors like Dr. Lee says that there are four major classes of glaucoma. Based upon the class of glaucoma detected, appropriate treatment can be given.
Open-angle glaucoma is the first class of glaucoma. This is caused by increase in intraocular pressure. And treatment for this kind of glaucoma is given through eye drops that control the increase in intraocular pressure. The second class is called the cataract and the third one is called the progressive eye failure.
Treatments of Glaucoma
Eye drops used for this purpose include oxyhydrogen, beta-carotene, and magnesium hydrochloride. In progressive glaucoma, the intraocular pressure remains constant for a longer period of time. And so effective treatment for this type of glaucoma is given through laser eye surgery. And in the cataract, effective treatment can be given through contact lenses.
But in some instances, eye doctors use medicines along with certain types of intraocular pressure therapy or laser treatment to cure glaucoma progression. A very common medication prescribed for treating glaucoma progression is beta-blocker or amiodarone eye drug. In some cases, eye surgeons use laser eye surgery to cure glaucoma.
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Uvean and Peripheral Angle Glaucoma
Glaucoma patients usually have two types of angle glaucoma, either Uvean and Peripheral. Both of them cause optic nerve damage which is the main reason behind obstruction in the normal drainage of the eye. In Uvean glaucoma, the iris is damaged and its normal exit is obstructed. In the other type, the iris does not completely close during nighttime. This is called Peripheral angle glaucoma. Thus effective treatment for glaucoma needs to be given before the optic nerve damage reaches the retina.
Prevention of Glaucoma
One effective method to prevent glaucoma is through the trabecular meshwork or TTM. The TTM technique, more popularly known as the Trabeculoploasty, involves removing part of the trabecular meshwork. This leads to a reduction in the internal pressure of the trabecular meshwork, thus preventing glaucoma attack.
Laser Trabeculoploasty is another method to treat glaucoma. In this procedure, the surgeon removes part of the trabecular meshwork and inserts artificial intraocular pressure sensors in the affected areas. These sensors are connected to an instrument that creates a low pressure light beam that is used to excite the aqueous fluid inside the eye. As a result, the fluid flows into the eyes and relieves the internal pressure of the eye.
Secondary glaucoma occurs when the iris does not enlarge enough to prevent extrusion of the aqueous humor from the eye. The iris tissue develops a small drainage angle that prevents it from receiving adequate amount of aqueous fluid. The drainage angle is tightened whenever Glaucoma treatment is performed. Laser Trabeculoploasty is another successful type of treatment for secondary glaucoma. The laser beam activates the iris tissue and relieves the internal pressure.
Glaucoma surgery can be performed in one of two ways-pulsed and selective laser. In the former form of glaucoma, the laser beam reshapes the cornea to increase light penetration. The second form of glaucoma calls for the placement of a high-pressure optical device beneath the cornea. The device, which is made of a gel called trabeculectomy (Teflon-coated metal contacts), forces the fluid out of the eye via microscopic leaks. Subsequently, the iris enlarges to accommodate the extra light and cures.