Understanding Glaucoma In A Better Way

Glaucoma is an extremely serious problem in the eyes and it consistently ranks among the leading causes of blindness. According to the research, it has been observed that a large number of patients having glaucoma are diagnosed each year and it has a significant impact on the quality of life of an individual suffering from glaucoma.

Glaucoma is defined as a neurodegenerative condition which affects the eyes and is associated with increased intracellular pressure. It is a progressive eye disease which causes damage to the optic nerve and gradually start to affect vision. Primarily glaucoma is of three types:

1. Primary open angle glaucoma – It is the more common type of glaucoma, almost 90% of all cases of glaucoma accounts to this type. Primary open angle glaucoma is also known as wide angle glaucoma. The base of the angle where the cornea meets iris is known as trabecular meshwork. It allows the clear fluid in the eyes to leave and drain from the anterior chamber. Primary open angle glaucoma occurs when the fluid drains too slowly, increasing the pressure and damaging the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma does not have any side effect until it reaches an advanced stage.

2. Narrow angle glaucoma – It is also known as angle closure glaucoma and this type of glaucoma occur when the angle between the iris and cornea becomes narrower than normal and makes it difficult for the eyes to drain fluid. This leads to an increase in the pressure and results in damage to the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma causes side effects like a headache, nausea, eye pain, and blurred vision.

3. Normal tension glaucoma – It is also known as low tension glaucoma and it is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision with a statistically normal intraocular pressure. This type of glaucoma occurs due to poor flow of blood to the optic nerve, which causes death to the cells.

How does Glaucoma develop?

In the normal eyes, the front part of the eyes is filled with a fluid known as aqueous humor throws through the pupil. It is absorbed into the bloodstream through the drainage system in the eye. This drainage system is known as trabecular meshwork which is located at the angle between the cornea and iris. The production, flow, and drainage of this fluid are important for the health of the eyes.  

The balance between the production and drainage of the fluid or aqueous humor in the eyes is strongly associated with the intraocular pressure or the inner pressure of the eye. When the drainage system in the eye does not work normally, it can lead to the buildup of fluid in the eye. When the drainage system in the eyes works properly, the right amount of fluid is produced. Also, the fluid can drain freely.

Glaucoma occurs when the drainage system in the eye become clogged and as a result, the intraocular fluid cannot drain. This leads to the build up of fluid and increases the pressure inside the eyes. This increased pressure in the eyes damages the sensitive optic nerve and causes vision loss.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

In most cases, there are no noticeable symptoms in the early stage of this eye disorder but as it progresses, problems with vision begin. Some of the symptoms that can occur in patients having glaucoma are as follows:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light.

What are the causes of glaucoma?

Although increased intraocular pressure results in glaucoma, there can be other causes of glaucoma. Some of the factors that increase the risk of suffering from glaucoma are as follows:

1. Medical conditions – Medical conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure significantly increases the risk of developing glaucoma. Ocular perfusion pressure is the main interplay between the blood pressure and glaucoma. Ocular perfusion pressure regulates the flow of blood to the optic nerve. Therefore, high blood pressure in the body is one of the major risk factors of glaucoma.

2. Other eye-related problems – There are many other eye problems that can act as a risk factor for glaucoma. Many times, people suffering from eye disorder also suffer from glaucoma. Some of the problems that increase the risk of glaucoma may include retinal detachment, inflammation in the eye, and eye tumor.

3. Age – It is another important risk factor for glaucoma. Multiple studies have suggested that there is a strong relationship between the age of an individual and the risk of developing glaucoma. It is strongly believed that people who are over 60 years of age are at high risk of glaucoma.

4. Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes mellitus is also a common risk factor of glaucoma. Diabetes mellitus is defined as a condition which is characterized by high blood glucose level in the body. The high glucose level in the blood affects the nerves of the eyes and increases the risk of glaucoma.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for CheapMedicineShop.com. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.