Remedies For Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of conditions, in which high pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) damages the optic nerve of the eye. Glaucoma usually affects both the eyes. It commonly occurs in adults above 40 years of age, but can even occur in newborn babies. The vision lost due to glaucoma is irreversible and can not be regained. Hence it is very important to detect this disease as early as possible and treat early to preserve vision.

Causes Of Glaucoma

Our optic nerve, which is located in back of the eye transmits the images we see back to the brain for interpretation. The eye is firm and round, like a basketball. Its tone and shape are maintained by a pressure within the eye (the intraocular pressure), which normally ranges between 8 and 22 mm (millimeters) of mercury. When the pressure is too low, the eye becomes softer, while a too high pressure causes the eye to become harder. The front of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called the aqueous humor, which provides nourishment to the structures in the front of the eye. This fluid is produced constantly by the ciliary body, which surrounds the lens of the eye.
The aqueous humor then flows through the pupil and leaves the eye through tiny channels called the trabecular meshwork. These channels are located at what is called the filtering, or drainage angle of the eye. This angle is where the clear cornea, which covers the front of the eye, attaches to the base (root or periphery) of the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. The cornea covers the iris and the pupil, which are in front of the lens. The pupil is the small, round, black-appearing opening in the center of the iris. Light passes through the pupil, on through the lens, and to the retina at the back of the eye


This form of glaucoma generally does not cause any symptoms in the initial stages. The high pressure causes damage to the optic nerve and leads to loss of peripheral visual field initially. Unless a routine checkup is done, these changes go unnoticed and progressively lead to further loss of visual field and the loss of central vision as well in the later stages. Since this loss of vision is irreversible, glaucoma is also called the ‘silent killer’. Some patients may experience these


Loss of peripheral vision: this is often not noticed until considerable damage has occurred:-
Blurred or foggy vision Frequent change of glasses for near work
Heaviness or dull pain in the eyes Pain and redness of the eye
Halos or rainbow colored rings perceived around lights

What are the symptoms of glaucoma in children (congenital)?
The symptoms are redness, watering, photophobia (inability to tolerate light), enlargement of the eyes, and corneal clouding. Glaucoma in children needs to be managed very early and aggressively, in order to save their vision.

Treatment For Glaucoma

By controlling the eye pressure (IOP) at the optimum level Glaucoma can be treated. The level of IOP required (target pressure) depends upon the extent of damage and other factors and is decided by the treating doctor. Medical treatment is generally the first line of management. It includes eye drops and tablets to control the pressure by either increasing the drainage or decreasing the production of the fluid in the eye. These medicines are generally to be used lifelong, and it is very important to use the medicines regularly at prescribed timings and not to stop the medicines without consulting the doctor.

Laser treatment is recommended in certain selected cases to create an alternative pathway for the drainage of the fluid. Even after laser, a few patients may still need to use medications to keep the pressure under control. Surgery is recommended in cases where the medicines alone are not effective or cause significant side effects. The surgery increases the drainage of the fluid. Cryopexy or Cycloablation are used in uncontrolled cases, and involve partial or total destruction of the tissues that produce the fluid in the eye.

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