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Glaucoma: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Glaucoma is a degenerative condition that occurs when the pressure in the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and producing, in worst case scenarios, blindness. Fortunately, this condition is diagnosed in a simple way with an adequate ophthalmological check-up and, with the ideal treatment and the correct control of eye and blood pressure, these complications can be avoided.

Detecting the subtle symptoms of this condition, especially common in patients with hypertension and diabetes, is very important to identify it early and carry out timely treatment and control to prevent its progression. That is why in this FastlyHealarticle we explain everything you need to know about glaucoma: causes, symptoms and treatment .

Why does glaucoma occur?

After cataracts , glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness, however an early diagnosis can prevent vision loss by more than 90%, so it is essential to know the highest risk groups of suffering from this condition as well as Your symptoms.

This pathology occurs when the aqueous humor, a transparent liquid produced in the iris, is not drained properly, remaining accumulated in the eye and causing the intraocular pressure to increase. The exact causes for which this condition occurs are unknown, although it is known that patients with high blood pressure, due to the increase in blood pressure, have a greater possibility of suffering from this disease.

Although the exact cause has not yet been identified, there are some risk groups that have a greater possibility of suffering from glaucoma, these are:

  • People with direct relatives with this condition , in these cases a routine ophthalmological examination is recommended annually or every two years, which becomes highly recommended from the age of 45. This disease has an important hereditary component.
  • Patients with diabetes and hypertension .
  • People with a very advanced degree of myopia, especially those with 5 or more diopters.
  • Suffering from eye diseases such as uveitis or infection of the middle layer of the eye.
  • Suffering from eye injuries increases the possibility of suffering this disease.
  • Patients taking corticosteroid medication are also at higher risk.
  • Also, glaucoma is more common in people older than 60 and especially common in blacks or Hispanics.

Glaucoma symptoms

Depending on the opening of the iridocorneal angle, there are two types of glaucoma, depending on which one suffers, the symptoms may be more present or go unnoticed.

Open angle glaucoma

It is the most common type , its cause is unknown, however it is the type of condition that occurs in hereditary cases. It is characterized because the increase in intraocular pressure occurs slowly, therefore the damage to the optic nerve appears little by little. Its signals are:

  • It presents asymptomatically at the beginning, without showing any signs.
  • As the damage progresses, a loss of lateral or peripheral vision is perceived. As soon as this signal is detected, it is essential to go to the ophthalmologist because if it is allowed to advance it can lead to blindness.

Because this is the most common type and it is especially present in hereditary cases, annual ophthalmological examinations are recommended starting at the age of 45.

Angle closure glaucoma

It occurs when the blockage in the exit of the aqueous humor occurs suddenly, causing the pressure of the eye to rise quickly. This condition is considered a medical emergency and must be acted on quickly to avoid collateral damage. It can occur due to the use of eye medications or also due to an increase in blood pressure.

The symptoms are:

  • Sudden, severe pain in one eye
  • Eye redness
  • Sensation of inflammation in the affected area
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting

Within these two forms of glaucoma other types can occur such as:

  • Secondary glaucoma : its cause is known, which may be due to the intake of corticosteroid drugs, a disease such as diabetes or ocular pathologies. It can be open or closed.
  • Congenital glaucoma : It is hereditary and occurs at birth, symptoms are usually detected during the first months of life and can include opacity in the eye, enlargement of one or both eyes, redness, tearing and sensitivity to light.

Glaucoma is a condition that is diagnosed by a completely painless , fast and timely ophthalmological examination . Tonometry is the most common diagnostic test which allows measuring the pressure of the eye, but since not all patients with this condition have high intraocular pressure, other diagnostic tests such as perimetry or ophthalmoscopy may also be performed, which will allow confirm the diagnosis in case the eye pressure is normal.

Treatment and recommendations for glaucoma

The treatment of this condition varies depending on the type that is suffered:

Patients with open glaucoma

They correspond to 90% of cases, the main treatment is the administration of drops and oral medication to reduce the pressure of the eye. In specific cases in which the drugs do not fulfill their effect, laser treatment can be used and, in the case of failure, surgery to drain the aqueous humor and reduce pressure, reducing the risk of complications and blindness. Frequent ophthalmological check-up is essential to maintain controlled intraocular pressure.

Patients with closed glaucoma

This condition is rare and is considered a medical emergency. Symptoms appear suddenly and intensely, so it is essential to go to the doctor quickly because in a few days damage to the optic nerve can occur, leading to blindness.

It is usually treated with the intravenous administration of medication to reduce the pressure of the eye, although depending on the patient’s condition an emergency intervention may be necessary, which can be performed with laser or surgery. The other eye is also usually treated as this condition tends to affect both.

Babies with congenital glaucoma

In this case, the treatment is based on a surgery performed under general anesthesia in which a channel is opened so that the eye can drain properly.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Glaucoma: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Eyes and Vision category .

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