Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause optic nerve damage and is characterized by irreversible loss of peripheral vision and in advanced cases, loss of central vision as well.
There are various types of glaucoma, the most common one being open-angle glaucoma. Other types of glaucoma include acute and chronic angle-closure glaucoma, pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, pigment dispersion glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.
In most cases, glaucoma is associated with elevated intraocular pressure, which is considered the cause of the damage to the optic nerve.
In normal tension glaucoma, intraocular pressure is within the normal range, however, the optic nerve can still get damaged.
In some cases, the intraocular pressure can be high without causing damage to the optic nerve. This condition is called ocular hypertension and under certain conditions and monitoring, may not require treatment, while in some cases similar treatment to that of glaucoma is required.
Glaucoma causes a rather subtle and progressive loss of vision, which is not perceived by the patient, as there are no symptoms. The optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma causes a sudden increase in intraocular pressure that is accompanied by symptoms such as severe ocular pain, eye redness, impaired vision, malaise and vomiting.
All people over 40 and especially those with a family history of glaucoma need to be checked at least once a year.
Diagnosis is made through a combination of clinical examination and specialized tests.
The clinical examination includes the following: visual acuity check, measurement of the intraocular pressure, gonioscopy, corneal pachymetry, examination of the anterior segment and fundoscopy.
The complete examination requires visual fields checking for the detection of functional damages and the digital imaging of the optic nerves (OCT of the optic disc and retinal nerve fiber layers) that are used to monitor and check the progression of the disease.
EYE DAY CLINIC is fully equipped for the thorough examination of the patient and for carrying out of all the required examinations.
The treatment of glaucoma aims to prevent further deterioration of vision and to halt any further optic nerve damage.
In most cases, if a person is diagnosed early, a pharmaceutical treatment using eye drops is sufficient to control the disease. The treatment will usually need to be taken for life. There are various categories of medications available and in many cases a combination of medications is required for the disease to be fully controlled.
In some cases, the use of a special laser treatment may be required for certain types of glaucoma. Laser surgery may suffice for the treatment of the disease, or it may need to be combined with eye drops. In some cases, the action of the laser surgery may be reduced over time and the laser surgery may need to be repeated.
In cases where medications are not effective, surgical treatment may be required.
There is a series of available procedures for the treatment of glaucoma. The most common ones include trabeculectomy and insertion of aqueous shunts. In certain cases, it is possible to use minimally invasive techniques with the use of special implants.
The EYE DAY CLINIC team has great experience in the surgical treatment of glaucoma and can recommend the appropriate type of surgery for each case.