Glaucoma is a disease that may be associated with elevated intraocular pressure that can cause progressive loss or damage to the optic nerve with eventual blindness. Light enters your eye and travels to the retina, the inner layer of the eye. The retina sends signals to the optic nerve, which then transmits the signals to your brain.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of progressive eye diseases that involve damage to the optic nerve. This can cause blindness if not treated. It’s difficult to know what causes glaucoma, but it can be associated with elevated intraocular pressure. It may also be hereditary.
Types of Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. It produces no noticeable symptoms and it usually has no immediate or early warning signs. The other types of glaucoma are:
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Ocular hypertension
- Congenital primary open-angle glaucoma
- Secondary open-angle glaucoma
- Pigmentary glaucoma
Treatment of Glaucoma
There are various treatments associated with glaucoma that your healthcare provider may recommend.
Treatment of primary open-angle glaucoma usually involves eye drops that lower pressure in the eye and help keep optic nerve damage from worsening. One way this is done is by decreasing the production of aqueous humor and balancing the flow of fluid within the eye. These medications typically work best when taken on a daily basis.
If eye drops don’t control the pressure, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to make more room for fluids in your eye, which will lower pressure. To do this, they’ll need to cut an opening (giant papillary conjunctival flap) between your eyelids and remove some tissue from inside your eyelid (laser cyclophotocoagulation). They may also create a hole in your iris (iridectomy), which will allow fluid to drain out of your eye and reduce pressure.
Some people with severe forms of primary open-angle glaucoma may need additional surgery, such as a trabeculectomy or shunt procedure. This surgery is done by making an incision in the white part of one eye, running a tube up through an opening near the upper portion of the eyeball, and inserting it into a space behind the eyeball where fluid can drain freely. A device inside this tube removes excess fluid from behind the lens and reduces intraocular pressure.