The glaucoma is an eye disease, the full clinical picture is characterized by set of processes in which elevated intraocular pressure may produce a noticeable visual field loss, which could be complete if the process does not stop in time.
Such is its seriousness, that this affection of the optic nerve becomes, after diabetes, the second cause of blindness in the whole world. With age, the incidence of glaucoma is increased considerably, to the point that, according to studies in this field, two out of every hundred people over 45 and almost 4% of those over 70 suffer from this disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it affects more than 60 million people around the world, with approximately one million concentrated in Spain.
Causes of glaucoma
This disease that causes a progressive damage in the secondary optic nerve can have as one of its main causes a high intraocular pressure, although in the appearance of this disease other factors can also intervene.
To understand the formation of this condition, it would be vital to know the functioning of the visual system. The spaces comprised by the posterior chamber and anterior to the eye, separated by the iris and connected by the pupil, are filled with a clear liquid known as aqueous humor.
Precisely, the balance between the production and elimination of this humor is what will determine that the intraocular pressure remains within the appropriate limits. Specialists usually estimate these limits between 12 and 21 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
In cases of glaucoma what usually happens is that the drainage system of the eye does not work correctly and the excess of aqueous humor is not eliminated in the correct way, which causes that the increase in intraocular pressure can damage the nerve optic leading to loss of vision.
This mechanical theory , which tells us about this imbalance, is the most widespread as the origin of glaucoma. As risk factors, in addition to advanced age, one could highlight the condition of myopia, high intraocular pressure, thin cornea thickness or family history with this disease.
Symptoms and causes of glaucoma
Symptoms of glaucoma
The most common forms of glaucoma do not usually show noticeable symptoms , since the loss of vision occurs progressively and slowly, affecting peripheral vision (lateral) in the first place.
The most common symptomatology to the different types of glaucoma could present the following signs:-
- Pain in the eyes and in the head.
- Blurry vision
- Vashiness and nausea
- The vision will be lost suddenly
In any case, periodic reviews with measurements of intraocular pressure , especially among patients who are in risk factor are recommended in the absence of previous symptoms associated with patients.
How to Treat glaucoma
The reduction of the intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma can be carried out from the medical, surgical or combination of both possibilities. The choice of therapeutic method and urgency will depend on the type of glaucoma to which we refer.
Within medical treatment, to reduce intraocular pressure and prevent irreversible damage caused by glaucoma, the appropriate medication for these cases will be the one that reduces the production of aqueous humor or facilitates the elimination of it.
For these cases, the use of miotics will be essential because with them the aforementioned pressure will be reduced immediately after its application. The duration of its effect can be up to eight hours.
For its part, epinephrine reduces intraocular pressure from 24 to 36 hours after the application of a single drop. The concentrations used for the treatment of glaucoma will be 0.25%; 0, 5%; 1%; and 2%, administered once or twice a day.
For surgical treatment , we must take into account the type of glaucoma to which we refer.
Glaucoma can be of several types:-
Open-angle , in which there are usually occasional symptoms such as headache, decreased vision or stinging. To start your treatment, the indications should be an intraocular pressure of 25 mmHg, as well as glaucomatous changes in the fundus.
Trabulectomy is the intervention chosen for this type of glaucoma, since it will help to filter the aqueous humor through a scleral wound, by bypassing the trabecular tissue, allowing the aqueous to drain from the anterior chamber into the subconjutival space.
As initial medication, there are many drugs that can be given. Such is the case of, for example, timolol, which will decrease the production of aqueous humor or prostaglandins, which can produce changes in the color of the iris.
Narrow- angle or narrow is another type of glaucoma, which consists of episodic elevations of the eye pressure by a sudden blockage at the outlet of the aqueous humor to the anterior chamber.Also known as acute glaucoma, the treatment goes through the consumption of diuretics osmotic like mannitol.
Subsequently, topical corticosteroids will be applied to reduce inflammation and miotics to break the pupillary block. Similarly, hypotensives or certain drugs can be used to reduce symptoms such as nausea or headaches.
To correct the anatomical factors that persist despite resolving the most acute condition, surgery will be used to correct them.
Glaucoma symptoms and signs
Other type is pigmentary glaucoma , a modality caused by the obstruction of the drainage angle of the eye, as a consequence of the release of the pigment granules of the pigment epithelium of the iris.
This type affects Caucasian men between 30 and 40 years old.-Graucoma congenital occurs from birth. In 80% of cases it is diagnosed in the first year of age. These children are usually born with closed angles or similar defects in the drainage system of the eye.
How to prevent glaucoma
To prevent glaucoma, it is convenient to follow a series of habits in our way of life:-
- To provide our body with enough vitamin A, which can be found in supplements or foods such as pork or veal liver, pâtés, vegetables such as carrots, spinach, grelos or sweet potato, butter or cured cheese.
- We must try to maintain a correct blood pressure. For this it is essential to consume foods low in saturated fats with the aim of improving the state of the cardiovascular system. It is very important to avoid stimulating substances such as caffeine.
- To prevent glaucoma, sport is a great ally. Thanks to a continuous and periodic exercise we can improve the functioning of our circulatory system, achieving a better irrigation and intake of nutrients ingested through our daily foods.
- Optical surveys must be usual, being at least once a year. The oculist will be the one who will inform us correctly about it.For more details, we recommend you read our article ” How to prevent glaucoma “.Did you know this information about glaucoma ? Have you suffered this disease? What would you recommend to others who are in your same situation?