Glaucoma Surgery: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a chronic and progressive eye disease which can damage the optic nerve system and lead to vision loss if left untreated. This condition is often linked to increased intraocular pressure that damages the optic nerve system linking the retina with the brain. A damaged optic nerve often results in permanent blindness making glaucoma the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Although Glaucoma is more common in older people, it could occur at any age. One of the biggest risks of glaucoma is that it often progresses without warning signs. It can go unnoticed until the later stages when the vision changes become noticeable. So it is important to visit your ophthalmologist to have regular eye exams and measure your eye pressure. Early diagnosis of glaucoma can help you slow down or prevent its progression and vision loss.

Types of Glaucoma

The most common types of glaucoma are:

  • Open-angle Glaucoma

This is the most common type of glaucoma. This happens when there is resistance in your eye’s drainage canals, but the drain structure in your eye or the trabecular meshwork looks fine. Such resistance can disrupt the normal drainage process and cause the fluid to build up in the eye and put pressure on the optic nerve. Most people with open-angle glaucoma don’t display any symptoms, as the pressure progression is slow and gradual.

  • Closed-angle Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow and your eye does not drain the way it normally does. This results in fluid buildup and increased intraocular pressure. Closed-angle glaucoma is also linked to farsightedness and cataracts (clouding of the lens inside the eye).

Other types of glaucoma are:

  • Secondary Glaucoma

When glaucoma is caused due to the presence of another disease such as cataract or diabetes, they are referred to as secondary glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can be characterised by halos and photophobia.

  • Congenital glaucoma

They are also known as childhood or paediatric glaucoma and are seen in some babies who are born with drainage canals that do not perform well. 

  • Pigmentary Glaucoma

In people with pigmentary glaucoma, tiny granules of pigment will flake off from the iris and clog the drainage canal of the eye, disrupting their performance and causing increased intraocular pressure.

Early Signs & Symptoms of Glaucoma

The problem with glaucoma is that most of the time they don’t show any symptoms. They slowly progress and the patient may start noticing only when he/she experiences slight vision changes. Some common symptoms that you may experience are:

  • Eye Pain
  • Headache
  • Rainbow coloured halos around light
  • Low vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Blind spots
  • Red eyes

Glaucoma Causes & Risk Factors

Intraocular eye pressure is one of the main causes of glaucoma. Your eyes produce a fluid known as aqueous humour. This fluid flows through the pupil nourishing the eyes. Aqueous humour then leaves the eyes through the drainage canal. But if the person has glaucoma, the fluid builds up inside the eye and puts pressure on the optic nerve. Eventually, this results in damaged optic nerve and leads to glaucoma. 

Risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Old age
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Long-term use of corticosteroid
  • Previous eye injury and surgery

Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma is hard to diagnose from symptoms. So it is important to go through regular checkups to diagnose glaucoma from an early stage and take necessary treatments and precautions. Several painless tests are conducted to assess glaucoma:

  1. Gonioscopy
  2. Dilate Eye Exam
  3. Optical Coherence Tomography
  4. Ocular Pressure Test
  5. Pachymetry
  6. Visual Acuity Test
  7. Visual Field Test

Glaucoma Treatment

It is important to diagnose glaucoma at its early stage and start treatment. Untreated glaucoma will lead to permanent vision loss. Treatments can only prevent or slow down vision loss but cannot restore lost vision. 

  • Medications for Glaucoma

Eye drops are often prescribed to treat glaucoma. These prescription drops either decrease the production of fluids or promote drainage of the fluids to improve eye pressure.

  • Laser Therapy for Glaucoma

This procedure utilises laser light to increase the flow of fluid from your eye. Laser procedures that treat glaucoma include:

  • Trabeculoplasty

This is a non-invasive procedure that utilises a laser to remove the drainage canal blockage in the eye to increase fluid drainage. 

  • Micropulse Transscleral Cyclophotocoagulation (MO-TSCPC)

A micropulse laser targets the middle layer of the eye and lowers fluid production.

  • Surgery for Glaucoma

Surgery in glaucoma treatment aims to create an opening for the fluid to leave the eye and bring down the intraocular pressure. Surgery procedures that treat glaucoma are:

  • Trabeculectomy

A small opening is created surgically inside the eye. This surgical puncture helps drain excess fluid and to relieve the intraocular pressure.

  • Glaucoma Drainage Devices

These devices are used to divert excess fluid to an external reservoir to relieve pressure inside the eyes.

  • iStent Inject

This tiny, FDA-approved device is placed to reduce intraocular pressure. This procedure is minimally invasive with a short recovery time.

Preventing Glaucoma Progression

Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent glaucoma progression. Routine checkups for glaucoma should be done every:

  • 1-3 years for people older than age 35, if at high risk for glaucoma
  • 2-4 years for people younger than age 40
  • 1-3 years for people with ages between 40-54
  • 1-2 years for people between ages 55-64
  • 6-12 months for people older than age 65

Best Hospital for Glaucoma Treatment in Bangalore

At Nethradhama, our focus is on bringing you the best eye care with pioneering advancements in glaucoma treatment, cutting-edge technologies and the expertise of our dedicated glaucoma specialists. Don’t let glaucoma steal your vision. Trust Nethradhama for the best glaucoma treatment in Bangalore.

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