Glaucoma Monitoring And Treatment
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of related disorders which lead to a common and characteristic optic nerve damage. This causes irreversible loss of vision, first affecting the peripheral visual field, then the central field in advanced cases. Although most are aware that the eye pressure is often elevated in glaucoma, it is a lesser known fact that the same nerve damage can develop in those with normal eye pressure. Types of glaucoma include open angle glaucoma, closed angle glaucoma, congenital glaucoma and secondary glaucoma.
What are the risk factors for glaucoma?
- Family history
- Previous eye trauma
- Chronic diseases like hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia
- Use of topical corticosteroid
- Refractive error (short-sightedness or myopia is a risk factor for open-angle glaucoma; long-sightedness or hyperopia is a risk factor for closed-angle glaucoma)
How is the diagnosis made?
The diagnosis of glaucoma is made based on clinical eye examination and a few specific tests including a visual field test and a nerve fibre layer thickness test. Key to the diagnosis is to look for specific patterns associated with glaucoma and to see whether there is progression over time.
How can glaucoma be treated?
Treatment depends on the type of glaucoma you are diagnosed with. Treatment options include:
- Eye drops
- Oral medications
- Laser treatment
- Filtering glaucoma surgery
- Glaucoma drainage implants
It is important to note that compliance is critical to the success of treatment. Often, patients may make the mistake of not taking their medications as they are asymptomatic. This can lead to irreversible loss of vision. Regular follow-up is emphasized in this group of patients.