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Glaucoma Unit

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, which is known as high eye pressure colloquially, is a common eye disease affecting millions of people. It may cause to sight impairment if not treated. In glaucoma, the fluid pressure inside the eye is high at a level to give harm to visual nerve which is essential for eyesight.

Frequently occurring over the age of 40, glaucoma keeps progressing in years sneakily. This is also called “Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma” which is the type of glaucoma. During this time, no symptom is seen in some part of the patients with glaucoma. Glaucoma comes to attention of most of the patients in the advanced stage when a distinctive sight loss occurs. Early diagnosis is essential in glaucoma due to there is no turning back from the sight loss. Abnormal intraocular pressure determined during the normal eye examination may be the first symptom the disease. Examination performed by an ophthalmologist in regular intervals is the best way for the early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.

Another type of glaucoma is the narrow-angle glaucoma which occurs with a sudden crisis in the advanced ages. It is a clinical picture characterized by severe eye pain, decrease in sight, redness in eye, nausea and vomiting and requires urgent treatment. Watering of eyes, sensitivity to light and looming are observed in the types of the disease observed in infantry and childhood.

What Causes to Glaucoma?

Normally, there is an eye fluid for the feeding of some eye tissues and this eye fluid is also discharged from the eye in some ways (trabecular network). Glaucoma occurs as a result of insufficient discharge of the eye fluid due to obstructions in these channels and increase of intraocular pressure accordingly. Increasing intraocular pressure will harm and cause to death of the visual nerves. In some patients, although intraocular pressure is normal, visual nerves are damaged because of impaired blood flow (normal pressure glaucoma). Permanent visual loss occurs when visual nerves die.

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Glaucoma is diagnosed with a careful eye examination. During the diagnostic eye examination, ophthalmologist:

  • Measures your intraocular pressure through a device called tonometer and examines the eye nerves making an eye ground examination.

  • Performs visual space test to determine whether or not there is a loss in the visual space if necessary.

  • Advanced methods can be applied which examine visual nerves and nerve fiber layer.  

Early diagnosis is the only way to prevent glaucoma dependent sight loss. Unless there is a distinct damage in the visual space, patient cannot be aware of these losses. Therefore, making eye examinations and performing advanced tests such as visual space at regular intervals are essential.

Who are Under Risk?

Glaucoma is a disease which is seen in millions of people throughout the world and may affect everyone. However, some factors may increase the disease risk. Factors increasing the rise of Glaucoma are

  • Advancing age,

  • Glaucoma history in family (genetic susceptibility)

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • High-low blood pressure

  • Myopia

  • Long term cortisone treatment

  • Eye injuries

  • Migraine

Patients having these features had better get eye examination in terms of glaucoma.

Can Glaucoma be Cured?

Glaucoma cannot be recovered and healed completely after being diagnosed, but it can be brought under control successfully with appropriate treatment and advancing visual loss can be prevented in many cases.

If you suffer from glaucoma, then the treatment and follow up of your disease will permanently continue for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is essential you to obey the follow up program of your ophthalmologist regularly and to apply the suggested treatment carefully.

How is Glaucoma Treated?

The open-angle glaucoma is treated with various medications lowering the intraocular pressure. These medications are mostly eye lotions. Surgical and laser interventions can also be applied if necessary. The purpose of this study is to protect the remaining sight rather than increasing it. Treatment is very urgent in the narrow-angle type which occurs with a crisis. Surgical treatment is primarily applied in congenital glaucoma. More than one surgical intervention may be necessary in some cases.

How Often Should Eye Lotions be Used?

Daily use of eye lotions is compulsory. You may drop one or more drop of lotion at certain intervals depending on the suggested medication treatment. What’s important is always to follow the instructions of your doctor.

Will I Always Use the Same Eye Lotions?

Due to glaucoma is a progressive disease, your eye doctor may have to change your eye lotions or add other lotions to your treatment. The first reason in making these changes is to keep intraocular pressure under control and protect your visual space. Besides, the possible side effects of the lotions may require making changes.

Simple Rules to Follow

Use your medication as suggested by your doctor! Take your medication at the same time every day! So you can both easily remember taking your eye lotion and ensure it to be more influential. Consult your doctor about any side effect affecting your daily life. Obey the check appointments determined by your doctor. Your disease can barely be cured successfully under regular control of your doctor.

Warn your eye doctor about the medications you receive for your other diseases! When you are examined by another doctor other your ophthalmologist, inform him/her about that you suffer from glaucoma.

Warn all the member of your family about getting their eyes examined due to glaucoma can be a genetic disorder!

Get your periodical visual space examinations upon your doctor’s instruction.

Remember

Your role is important in the treatment of glaucoma. Because of being a chronic disease, glaucoma continues for a life time and requires determination. But remember, what will protect your sight which is all important for you is this determination.