GLAUCOMA

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

What is glaucoma? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies?

What is glaucoma? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies?  Glaucoma is the disease of the eye, which causes the damage of the optic nerve, usually occurring due to the increased fluid build-up in the front of the eyeball. This disease is the leading cause of blindness in persons with age above 60.

Glaucoma symptoms start so slowly that the sufferer may not even notice them. The only way to find out by a clinical diagnosis made by a medical practitioner. If glaucoma treatment starts earlier, the damage can be made reversible.

In this article, you’ll get more information on glaucoma, its clinical treatments, and, home remedies.

More on Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a set of progressive, irreversible optic nerve damage that can lead to visual blindness. Many patients with glaucoma are asymptomatic. However, without the commencement of proper treatment, glaucoma can lead to potential damage. Glaucoma can occur due to various pathological processes, including increased intraocular pressure, which is the most common one.

Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is classified into five general categories:

  • Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
  • Primary Closed- Angle Glaucoma
  • Secondary Open-Angle Glaucoma
  • Secondary Closed-angle Glaucoma
  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma

There isn’t any kind of prior eye injury in primary glaucoma and the cause is unknown, whereas secondary glaucoma occurs due to a side effect of any other eye condition.  

Angle-closure in glaucoma means blockage of the fluid drainage canals in the eye. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle between iris and cornea of your eye remains open despite the continuously increasing fluid pressure within the eye.

Moreover, any type of glaucoma can be acute or chronic depending upon the instant and late-onset respectively.1

What causes glaucoma?

The back of our eye is constantly producing a fluid called aqueous humor, which fills in the anterior compartment of the eye. This fluid is then drained out of the eye through an area called the drainage angle. Thus, the balance between fluid production and drainage maintains the normal pressure called intraocular pressure (IOP) inside our eye.

If this drainage system is somehow blocked or fluid production is increased, intraocular pressure increases. This rising pressure then damages the optic nerve.

What causes drainage system blockage or increased fluid production is yet not known. However, doctors believe these factors to be associated with it.

  • Poor blood flow to the eye
  • Certain medications, such as corticosteroids
  • High blood pressure
  • Dilating eye drops2

Symptoms of Glaucoma

At first, no signs of or symptoms of glaucoma are seen. That is the reason many people suffering from this condition don’t even know that they have this. Glaucoma is first noticed when the patient starts to experience a bit of vision loss.  

Signs and symptoms of open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma are quite different.

  • Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma
  • Peripheral vision loss occurs gradually in nearly both eyes.
  • Symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma
  • Sudden, unexpected vision loss occurs in acute closed-angle glaucoma
  • Patient experiences blurry vision
  • Red eyes3

Clinical Treatments of Glaucoma

It is impossible to reverse any damage that has occurred due to glaucoma. However, the commencement of clinical treatment as soon as possible can prevent further worsening of the damage. Possible clinical treatments for glaucoma patients are as follows:

  • Eye Drop medications: Eye drops are first-line treatment for glaucoma. These eye drops may comprise of drugs called beta-antagonists, alpha-agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and osmotic diuretics, etc.  that tend to reduce the raised intraocular pressure.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy becomes effective when the patient is unresponsive to medications. Laser therapy is just a new advancement in ophthalmic surgeries.
  • Incisional Surgery: Incisions are made within the eye so that fluid could be drained from the artificially made drainage pathways by the surgeon.4

Home Remedies for Glaucoma

These tips can help you prevent and control high eye pressure by promoting eye health:

  • Drink fluids in intervals: Drink water or any other fluid in short sips and intervals within the course of the day. Excessive consumption within a short time may increase eye pressure.
  • Sleeping with the head elevated: Elevating your head while sleeping by the use of wedge pillow reduces the intra-ocular pressure.
  • Limitation of caffeine: Studies have shown that caffeine consumption greatly increases pressures within the eye, thus it should be avoided.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help maintain normal intraocular pressure. Get advice from your doctor about the exercise program.5

Take Away Message

Glaucoma is still untreatable, yet its progression can be prevented by proper medical care. The best way to prevent this is by having an annual preventive eye care appointment with an ophthalmologist. Regular eye appointments, along with compliance with medication, are vital to slow down disease progression. If you already have glaucoma, it’s important to start the treatment right away. Moreover, if your symptoms are worsening, quickly reach out to your doctor.

References

1.        What Is Glaucoma? - American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma.

2.        Glaucoma: Overview. (2019).

3.        What Are Common Glaucoma Symptoms? - American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-symptoms.

4.        Weinreb, R. N., Aung, T. & Medeiros, F. A. The pathophysiology and treatment of glaucoma: a review. JAMA 311, 1901–1911 (2014).

5.        Understanding and Living with Glaucoma c.

                                                                                                                 

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