An Eye on Glaucoma
What are the symptoms?
Progression of Field Loss
At first there are NO SYMPTOMS and vision remains normal. That is what makes this disease so dangerous. As the disease progresses, there is a gradual loss of vision from the periphery towards the centre. Ultimately blindness results.
Some of the associated symptoms are
Coloured haloes around lights
Frequent change in glass power prescription
Severe eye pain and headache if there is an acute increase in intraocular pressure.
How is glaucoma detected?
Vision testing to determine the quality of vision.
Intraocular pressure is measured using an applanation or air puff tonometer.
A detailed eye examination of the optic disc and the nerve fibre.
Computerized visual field test to analize the quantity of vision or vision loss.
Computerised Visual Field Analyser
Applanation Tonometry being performed
Can glaucoma be cured?
There is no cure for glaucoma. It can only be controlled and further damage be prevented.
Medications are the mainstay of glaucoma treatment. Newer and advanced eye drops have shown to be extremely effective in contolling the intraocular pressure. This has significantly reduced the need of lasers and surgery for glaucoma in the past decade. Medications have to be used lifelong, as in diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc.
Llaser treatment are usually reserved for patients in whom the eye pressure is not well contolled with eye drops.
Surgery is reseved for those a few in whom the glaucoma progresses to damage despite medications and lasers therapy.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE :
Glaucoma is initially symptomless, so do not take chances. This disease requires life-long follow up with your ophthalmologist. There is no cure, only further damage can be prevented. Most glaucoma patients can continue to lead a normal life-style. Alertness and awareness are the key in preserving vision and preventing progressive vision loss in glaucoma.