CONDITIONS & PROCEDURES

GLAUCOMA

 

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma encompasses a range of eye disorders that harm the optic nerve, typically linked to elevated intraocular pressure. As a progressive condition, it stands as a primary contributor to irreversible vision impairment globally. The optic nerve plays a vital role in visual processing, conveying visual input from the eye to the brain. Without effective treatment, glaucoma poses a significant risk of permanent vision deterioration.

What are the signs of glaucoma?

Glaucoma earns its nickname as the "silent thief of sight" due to its usually slow progression without apparent symptoms until substantial vision loss occurs. However, certain individuals may encounter symptoms such as blurred vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, headaches, nausea, and vomiting during acute episodes of eye pressure, referred to as acute angle-closure glaucoma. Consistent eye check-ups are paramount for the timely detection and management of glaucoma, particularly for those at heightened risk, such as individuals with a family history of the condition, older adults, and those with specific medical conditions like diabetes. 

How do you diagnose glaucoma?

Diagnosing glaucoma involves a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The examination may include tests to measure the intraocular pressure (tonometry), assess the structure of the optic nerve (ophthalmoscopy), evaluate the drainage angle of the eye (gonioscopy), and assess the visual field (perimetry). Moreover, diagnostic procedures like optical coherence tomography (OCT) can evaluate the optic nerve's thickness and the retinal nerve fibre layer. 

How do you treat glaucoma?

The objective of treating glaucoma is to reduce intraocular pressure to halt additional harm to the optic nerve. Key treatment methods encompass various approaches, including eye drops, oral medications, laser therapy, and surgical interventions. Eye drops are often recommended to diminish intraocular pressure either by reducing the production of aqueous humour (fluid) in the eye or enhancing its drainage. Oral medications may be prescribed alongside eye drops to decrease intraocular pressure further. Laser therapy, such as selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) or trabeculoplasty, aids in enhancing fluid drainage from the eye. In cases where medications and laser therapy are not helping, surgical interventions like trabeculectomy or implantation of drainage devices may be recommended to create a new drainage pathway for intraocular fluid. Regular monitoring and adherence to treatment regimens are essential to manage glaucoma effectively and preserve vision.

FAQ

 

1. Is vision loss from glaucoma reversible?

Regrettably, once vision loss occurs due to glaucoma, it cannot be reversed. Hence, early detection and treatment play pivotal roles in halting further damage to the optic nerve and safeguarding any remaining vision. Consistent eye check-ups and adherence to treatment regimens prescribed by your healthcare provider are vital for upholding optimal eye health.


2. Can lifestyle changes help manage glaucoma?

While lifestyle changes alone cannot treat glaucoma, certain habits may help manage the condition and maintain overall eye health. These include maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, managing other medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and protecting the eyes from injury and excessive UV exposure.


3. Can I prevent glaucoma?

While it's not always possible to prevent glaucoma, early detection and treatment may reduce the risk of vision loss. Regular eye exams, especially for individuals at higher risk, along with proactive management of other health conditions, can help preserve eye health and minimise the impact of glaucoma.