Glaucoma affects many people around the world and is one of the leading causes of blindness. In the United States alone one in every ten thousand children born has Glaucoma with African-Americans being the most likely to suffer with this condition, but what is Glaucoma?
Facts about Glaucoma
Glaucoma is not one, but a group of diseases that attack the optic nerve, the end result of Glaucoma is loss of vision, although those that lose their sight will, unfortunately, never get it back. If Glaucoma is found early enough there are surgeries available that can slow vision impairment.
Glaucoma eye surgery works by reducing intraocular pressure (fluid pressure inside the eye), by helping to reduce the fluid pressure in the eye it can reduce the speed in which Glaucoma damages a person vision.
There are no symptoms to Glaucoma, people usually dont suffer any pain and when they start to slightly lose peripheral vision may, without thought, move their head to compensate. The economic value associated with Glaucoma equates to over $1.5 billion per year in the United States alone, this covers lost tax income, medical procedures, lost days at work and much more.
Glaucoma Eye Surgery
Iridectomy works by removing a portion of the iris tissue to increase the flow of fluid out of the eye; this is the most common of all Glaucoma surgeries.
Made through surgical instruments or laser surgery, Iridotomy works by making puncture like openings in the iris, like Iridectomy this increases the flow of fluid out of the eye reducing pressure built up in the eye.
There are two types of treatments for Goniotomy, surgical and laser.
Surgical Goniotomy works by cutting fibers in the eye that make up part of the trabecular meshwork. By carrying out this surgery it means fluid can flow more freely through the eye.
Laser Goniotomy works by using a laser to make small burns in the trabecular meshwork, which increases the fluid outflow of the eye.
The trabecular meshwork is responsible for draining fluid from the eye and is located near the cillary body (muscle tissue covering the inner circumference of the eye) around the base of the cornea, the trabecular meshwork is spongy in texture.
Tube shunt surgery
This surgery involves implanting a tube in the eye, which helps fluid flow out of the anterior chamber, this can also be known as drainage implant surgery.
What should you do?
Should you feel any pain or pressure in the eye or feel you may be losing some of your peripheral vision then it is essential that you visit an optician.
An optician will be able to carry out tests to find out what is affecting your vision and recommend treatment or alternative methods of improving the condition of your eye.
If you do not have glaucoma, which we hope is the case, you will probably find the optician will recommend spectacles, as they will alleviate most, more subtle conditions.
Remember to take good care of your eyes as they cannot be replaced.
Photo: courtesy of NEI