Symptoms, causes, treatment, what is it?

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after age-related macular degeneration (AMD). All information about this disease that affects the eye.

Glaucoma is a painless eye diseasewhat can lead to it Total vision loss if left untreated. More than 70 million people are said to be affected worldwide. After the age of 70 every tenth person is affected. Glaucoma can be treated, but it can also lead to blindness if not caught early. A check-up at the ophthalmologist from the age of 40 is strongly recommended.

Definition, symptoms, causes, treatment… Here’s what you need to know about glaucoma.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a eye disease which mainly affects people over 45. Glaucoma is characterized by damage to the optic nerve: the nerve that originates from the retina at the back of the eye and carries images to the brain. If this nerve is damaged, the field of vision is reduced, vision is impaired and can lead to blindness (loss of vision).

It’s a progressive disease that may not show symptoms for a long time, but there are several types of glaucoma:

  • Chronic open-angle glaucoma : This is the most common form of the disease (90% of cases). It is caused by the gradual closing of the aqueous humor drainage filter. In this case, the change in vision is slow and painless, which complicates its diagnosis.
  • angle-closure glaucoma (or acute glaucoma) : It is due to an anomaly in the anatomy of the eye that prevents the outflow of aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork and remains particularly blocked behind the iris. The intraocular pressure rises sharply, then urgent treatment is required.
  • Secondary glaucoma : They are caused by trauma, such as shock to the eye, or by an inflammatory or congenital disease.

Causes: What Causes Glaucoma?

In most cases, glaucoma is associated with increased intraocular pressure, also known as glaucoma intraocular hypertension. The aqueous humor is drained through a filter located at the angle between the iris and the cornea called the trabecular meshwork. If the flow of this fluid is obstructed, the pressure inside the eyeball increases abnormally, causing changes in the fibers of the optic nerve.

The increase in intraocular pressure (above 21 mm Hg) is the main factor in glaucoma. However a hypertension (or high blood pressure) does not necessarily lead to glaucoma, and conversely there is glaucoma with intraocular pressure within the norm.

In a second measure is theage. Glaucoma usually occurs in people over the age of 45 its frequency increases over the years.

glaucoma is tohereditary (30% of cases according to Inserm), ie the risk increases when one parent is affected. Finally, myopia is also a risk factor.

Symptoms: How to recognize glaucoma?

glaucoma develop silently The symptoms usually only appear at an advanced stage. Symptoms differ depending on the type of glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma (usually affects both eyes):

  • absence of symptoms for 10 to 12 years;
  • disturbed peripheral vision;
  • possibly eye pain and headache.

Angle-closure glaucoma (usually affects only one eye):

  • severe eye pain;
  • severely blurred vision;
  • seeing colored halos around light sources;
  • redness of the eyes;
  • nausea or vomiting.

Congenital glaucoma:

  • large, often watery eyes;
  • iris with blurred details;
  • high sensitivity to light.

Treatment: How to treat glaucoma?

There is no cure for glaucoma and lost sharpness cannot be restored. Treatment of glaucoma consists in preventing or slowing down its development and subsequent damage by improving the circulation of aqueous humor, which reduces intraocular pressure. There are three treatment categories:

  • That drug treatments: Eye drops help reduce intraocular pressure. They are preferred to oral medications because they cause fewer side effects. There are several types: most reduce the production of aqueous humor by increasing its elimination. This treatment is very effective if the dosage is followed and if it is taken continuously for life. However, it can cause side effects, talk to your doctor.
  • The laser : When drug treatments are no longer effective, laser treatment may be offered. It facilitates the outflow of aqueous humor. Because results are generally equivocal, it may be necessary to increase or resume eye drop treatment a few months or a few years later.
  • The surgical intervention : If the glaucoma resists previous treatments and vision continues to decline, glaucoma surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis. The surgery creates a new escape route for aqueous humor to maintain normal pressure in the eye. Even if it stops the progression of glaucoma, it does not restore lost visual abilities.

You should know that all glaucoma treatments, and especially surgical treatments, increase the risk of developing cataracts (a loss of transparency of the lens).

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