What is Glaucoma?
Damage to the optic nerve usually causes loss of vision in the periphery so that it is not noticeable in early stages. Central vision remains normal till late in the disease. Patients often do not experience any pain, redness, tearing or blurring of vision till the disease is very advanced and most of the vision is irreversibly lost. Therefore, Glaucoma is often called the “Silent Thief of Sight”.
How Common is Glaucoma?
Who is at risk of Glaucoma?
The risk factors for glaucoma include:
- 1. Age – your risk of glaucoma increases as you get older especially beyond 60 years old. We encourage all persons over 45 to undergo regular eye examinations to identify early onset of eye diseases.
- 2. Ethnicity – Asians are more likely to suffer from angle closure glaucoma than other ethnic groups.
- 3. Family history
- 4. High fluid pressure of the eye
- 5. Chronic diseases – You are at increased risk if you have diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure.
- 6. Eye injuries or previous eye surgery
- 7. Use of corticosteroid medications
- 8. Short-sightedness (myopia) is a risk factor for open angle glaucomas
- 9. Long-sightedness (hyperopia) is a risk factor for angle closure glaucoma
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed and Monitored?
Glaucoma is diagnosed through examination of the eyes which includes measurement of the fluid pressure of the eye and careful examination of the optic nerve at the back of the eye to identify damage that has occurred. The patient’s visual fields are tested to assess for loss of vision in the peripheral fields. This involves using a machine that checks if a patient can see spots of light of different brightness in multiple locations within the eye. Additional imaging tests are often done to assess the amount of damage the optic nerve has suffered.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
- 1. Eye drops
- 2. Oral medications
- 3. Laser
- 4. Filtration surgery
- 5. Drainage implants