Glaucoma is commonly called as silent thief of sight. It is a disease which affects the nerve of the eye- Optic nerve which is responsible for vision. The underlying cause is believed to be the rise in intra- ocular pressure (IOP) the pressure inside the eye that maintains the integrity and shape of the eyeball. However, the changes that manifest can also be seen in eyes with normal pressure. Also, there are many other risk factors that contribute to the development of disease namely, age, short sightedness, certain diseases like Diabetes, hypertension, etc.
The clinical manifestations are mainly changes in the structure of Optic nerve, changes in the parts of the eye that act as drainage system for fluid inside the eye namely aqueous and the functional changes in terms of field of vision (side vision). In open angle glaucoma, the drainage system is functional and not blocked, hence the name. As the disease is slowly progressive and does not affect the central vision, the patients are symptomless in early stages. By the time, vision is affected patients have advanced disease process. It is for this reason that periodic eye check-up is mandatory after the age of forty years and for people with risk factors.
The treatment is mainly in the form of eye drops to control the eye pressure and thereby keep the disease process in check. When the disease process is still progressive, then surgery is required to maintain the pressure within the level of “target pressure” which is individualised for each patient. Patients should get periodic check-up done for measuring the eye pressure, side vision mapping and drug modification whenever necessary.
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