What is a Glaucoma?

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, often due to increased pressure within the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.

Key Risk Factors:

  • Age: Glaucoma becomes more common as people age, with a higher risk after the age of 40.
  • Family History: A family history of glaucoma increases the risk.
  • Ethnicity: Individuals of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent are at higher risk.
  • High Eye Pressure: Elevated intraocular pressure is a major risk factor.
  • Medical Conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain heart conditions may increase the risk.

Types of Glaucoma:

  1. Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type of glaucoma, characterized by a gradual increase in eye pressure that damages the optic nerve. It usually develops slowly and painlessly, often without noticeable symptoms until significant vision loss occurs.

  2. Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type is caused by a sudden blockage of the drainage angle in the eye, leading to a rapid increase in eye pressure. Angle-closure glaucoma can cause severe symptoms such as eye pain, headache, nausea, and blurred vision.

  3. Normal-Tension Glaucoma: In this type, optic nerve damage occurs despite eye pressure levels within the normal range. The exact cause of this type is not fully understood.

  4. Secondary Glaucoma: This form is a result of another eye condition or medical condition, such as diabetes, eye trauma, or long-term use of certain medications.

Advanced Glaucoma Treatments:

  1. Eye Drops: Medications are often prescribed to lower eye pressure by reducing fluid production or improving drainage.
  2. Laser Therapy: Laser procedures can help improve the drainage of fluid from the eye.
  3. Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS): These procedures are designed to improve fluid drainage and reduce eye pressure with minimal trauma to the eye.
  4. Traditional Surgery: In severe cases, conventional surgery might be necessary to create a new drainage pathway for the eye fluid.