Glaucoma Evaluation
 

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve, the nerve that carries visual information from the eye to the brain.

In many cases, damage to the optic nerve is due to increased pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP).

OPEN-ANGLE GLAUCOMA

  • Most people have NO symptoms until they begin to lose vision
  • Gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision (also called tunnel vision)

ANGLE-CLOSURE GLAUCOMA

  • Symptoms may come and go at first, or steadily become worse
  • Sudden, severe pain in one eye
  • Decreased or cloudy vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rainbow-like halos around lights
  • Red eye
  • Eye feels swollen

CONGENITAL GLAUCOMA

  • Symptoms are usually noticed when the child is a few months old
  • Cloudiness of the front of the eye
  • Enlargement of one eye or both eyes
  • Red eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing

The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure. Depending on the type of glaucoma, this is done using medications or surgery.

Open-angle glaucoma treatment:

Most people with open-angle glaucoma can be treated successfully with eye drops. Most eye drops used today have fewer side effects than those used in the past. You may need more than one type of drop. Some patients may also be treated with pills to lower pressure in the eye. Newer drops and pills are being developed that may protect the optic nerve from glaucoma damage.

Some patients will need other forms of treatment, such as a laser treatment, to help open the fluid outflow channels. This procedure is usually painless. Others may need traditional surgery to open a new outflow channel.

Angle-closure glaucoma treatment:

Acute angle-closure attack is a medical emergency. Blindness will occur in a few days if it is not treated. Drops, pills, and medicine given through a vein (by IV) are used to lower pressure. Some people also need an emergency operation, called an iridotomy. This procedure uses a laser to open a new channel in the iris. The new channel relieves pressure and prevents another attack.

Congenital glaucoma treatment:

This form of glaucoma is almost always treated with surgery to open the outflow channels of the angle. This is done while the patient is asleep and feels no pain (with anesthesia).

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. There are four major types of glaucoma:

  • Open-angle (chronic) glaucoma
  • Angle-closure (acute) glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Secondary glaucoma

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