Glaucoma is a particularly worrying eye problem which affects approximately one in fifty middle-aged adults and it is one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world. The underlying root of the condition can be any one of a number of things which have the combined effect of damaging the intricate nerve fibres in the retinal area by means of an excessive increase in intraocular pressure. When human eyes are healthy, they constantly produce a clear fluid known as the aqueous humour. This liquid substance fills the eye and helps to maintain its regular shape. In order for the eyes to remain healthy they must be able to drain the existing aqueous which is consistently being replaced by new cells. However, when the eye begins to produce more aqueous humour than it can drain then an inevitable build up of pressure occurs and it is this additional force which actually damages the optic nerve beyond repair.
The most widespread type of glaucoma is known as open-angle glaucoma and this accounts for at least three quarters of all cases. The development of this eye problem is normally quite slow and it may even go completely undetected by the sufferer. With this particular kind of glaucoma there is normally no specific or well-documented cause for the condition and the loss of vision which can accompany the disease is usually quite gradual. Although it is usually quite difficult to establish or determine precisely what leads to open angle glaucoma, it can be hereditary with around one in five sufferers having a close relative suffering from similar symptoms. At the present time, there is no known effective cure for open-angle glaucoma although there are various medications and treatments available which focus on managing the condition.
Another form of glaucoma is a somewhat rarer type of eye condition which is known as narrow angle glaucoma. This typically occurs in far sighted people and the initial onset and following development of symptoms can be quite fast and noticeable. This type of glaucoma is much more easily identifiable than open angle glaucoma as it affects the shape of the eye with the angle between the iris and cornea becoming squeezed much closer together. A more severe variation of this eye problem is that of acute angle closure glaucoma. This is caused by a sudden blockage of the channels which naturally drain the aqueous humour from the eye and it should be treated straight away by means of an emergency procedure.
Glaucoma Treatments and Basic Advice
If you think you are suffering from glaucoma then you should consult your doctor at the earliest opportunity in order to get an accurate assessment of the condition and identify any damage that has been caused. In modern times, new treatments have surfaced for glaucoma patients which are aimed at reducing the excessive amount of intraocular pressure that is caused by the disease. Glaucoma laser surgery involves opening up the drainage canal at the back of the eye using a carefully focused laser beam to alleviate some of the pressure from the excess amount of fluid in the eye. Another type of surgery involves the creation of a new, artificial drainage canal which provides similar results as laser treatment. Unfortunately, neither of these treatments can reverse the optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma and they may need to be repeated if the eye problems return or persist.