You are diagnosed with glaucoma. It is an eye disease that is produced by an increase in intraocular pressure and an optic nerve condition that can lead to loss of vision. It is a serious disease, but it can be stabilized with adapted treatment, that is why, so important an early detection is.
I Have Glaucoma. How Does It Originate?
Glaucoma is a disease that affects vision. The exact causes of the disease are not known, but it is known that the genetic influence and risk of glaucoma is much greater in a family in which cases have already occurred. Both eyes have the same predisposition, although glaucoma does not necessarily evolve in the same way on both sides.
What Can Happen if You Have Glaucoma?
Glaucoma produces a slow and progressive deterioration of the optic nerve. This nerve transmits the information received by the eye to the brain. The eye continues to see normally, but the transmission of information to the brain is altered over time. This situation is, in general, due to the increase in ocular pressure (too high eye pressure) associated with an excess of liquid (aqueous humor). In the absence of treatment, the visual field slowly decreases until it leads to possible loss of vision.
What are the Consequences For My Daily Life?
At first, the vision will not diminish. The eye does not perceive certain areas or details of the visual field, but the brain compensates for the deficit. As a result, glaucoma can go unnoticed. At a more advanced stage, vision disorders can be annoying, to the point that, for example, driving a car can be dangerous due to the lack of a wide field of vision.
Over time and without treatment, the areas will spread and the brain cannot compensate correctly. That is when you will realize of the “blind” areas of your visual field. Your life may be affected considerably. You will have to make efforts, little by little, to look sideways.
What are the Available Solutions?
The treatment of glaucoma aims to reduce eye pressure. It cannot recover lost vision, but prevents the appearance of additional damage. Therefore, it must be detected as soon as possible. The recommended treatments can be performed at any age if your general health allows it. There are three types:
Eye Drops (at the rate of one or several drops at fixed times in the affected eye) decrease the amount of fluid produced by the eye and increase the amount evacuated. The treatment is for life.
The Laser. This intervention is performed under local anesthesia; it facilitates the evacuation of the fluid contained in the eye to lower the pressure. Its effect is not defined and, sometimes, the intervention must be repeated. This intervention is simple and does not require hospitalization. Sometimes both eyes can be treated at the same time. The vision begins to improve from the next day and becomes clear in several days. A treatment with eye drops should be followed for several days. It is possible to suffer minor irritations, but these will quickly disappear.
Surgery (intervention under local anesthesia in the hospital, in a clinic or in another specialized center) involves making a small incision in the eye to decrease the pressure. Surgery is used when eye drops or laser treatments are not effective. The intervention involves a temporary physical impairment, so it is preferable to treat one eye after the other.
The intervention is fast, being able to return home very soon. The vision is still altered, but it is better than the vision you had without the glasses before the operation. It will improve quickly over the course of the following week.
The periodical consultation of the ophthalmologist from a certain age, at the moment in which the view begins to change, serves to avoid complications.
- Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Glaucoma. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
- National Eye Institute. Glaucoma. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma
- European Glaucoma Society. Terminology and Guidelines for Glaucoma. https://www.eugs.org/eng/guidelines.asp