It is a disease of the eye in which raised pressure inside the eyeball damages the optic nerve, causing permanent loss of vision.
It is often referred to as “The Silent Thief of Vision” as it usually comes without any symptoms. Patients usually have no complaints till the end stage of the disease as it is usually painless.
It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in India and the world. It causes permanent loss of vision in 1.5 million Indians every year. However, visual loss can be minimised with early diagnosis and treatment.
3-4 % of Indian population suffers from glaucoma, though half of those suffering damage from glaucoma do not know it.
A watery fluid called as aqueous humor circulates inside the anterior segment of the eye. To maintain normal pressure inside the eye, a small amount of this fluid is produced constantly while an equal amount flows out of the eye through a microscopic drainage system, called the trabecular meshwork. If there is any structural or functional failure in adequate drainage of the aqueous, the pressure inside the eye rises leading to glaucoma.
There are numerous types of glaucomas, but broadly they are classified as:
Open-angle Glaucoma: Most common type of Glaucoma; damages vision gradually and painlessly.
Closed- angle Glaucoma: Less common form; comes as an attack of red, painful and watering eye due to sudden rise of pressure.
Everyone is at risk. From infants to senior citizens, it can happen to anyone at any age. As early detection and treatment of glaucoma are the only ways to prevent vision impairment and blindness due to glaucoma, regular eye checkup is a must for everyone.
The most important risk factors are:
- Age above 45 yrs
- Family history of glaucoma
- Eye pressure is high
- Any injury to your eyes
- Myopia or hypermetropia
- Long-term topical steroids
- Tonometry- Measure Intraocular pressure (tension)
- Gonioscopy- Inspects the drainage angle of the eye
- 3D Disc evaluation- Evaluation of optic nerve damage
- OCT- Nerve fibre layer analysis
- Perimetry- Testing the visual field of each eye
- Pachmetry- Measurement of corneal thickness
if the pressure in the eyes can be adequately controlled by medicines, a life-long treatment is required for glaucoma. Regular checkups are necessary and compliance to treatment should be really good to prevent further loss of vision.
If the pressure is not adequately controlled with medicines or the case qualifies for surgery due to other reasons, a drainage surgery is done to lower the eye pressure. Regular checkups are recommended after the surgery. Surgery is the treatment modality of choice in careless patients and in patients who cannot afford expensive medications for a lifetime.
Akal eye hospital has remained at the forefront in introducing newer and advanced surgical techniques in the area. All kinds of glaucoma surgeries from filtration surgery to glaucoma drainage devices are done at our centre.
We were the first hospital in North India, to start doing Express Glaucoma Shunt surgeries.
We are the only eye hospital in the region who do blade-free glaucoma surgeries with the help of plasma knife.
As such, there is no way to avoid the disease. Nevertheless, early detection is the key and a regular eye checkup does the job.
An eye examination is needed:
- Every 12 months in age 35 years or more
- Every 6 months if a family member has glaucoma or you have any of the above mentioned high risk factors