Glaucoma is a common chronic eye disease

Glaucoma is a common chronic eye disease


Glaucoma is a common chronic eye disease. The field of view is thereby reduced due to damage to the optic nerve. The main risk factor is increased eye pressure.

Glaucoma complaints

In the early stages, glaucoma does not cause any complaints. As the disease progresses, there is an increasing loss of visual field.

Early recognition of glaucoma is therefore important because untreated glaucoma can cause irreparable damage to the optic nerve and blindness.

How does glaucoma develop?

Exactly how glaucoma develops is still unknown. Hereditary factors do play a major role.

In the most common types of glaucoma, a disturbance of the drainage of the aqueous humor in the eye plays a role. This creates an increased eye pressure, which damages the optic nerve. If the elevated eye pressure remains, the optic nerves gradually die. As a result, parts of the field of view will disappear.

However, glaucoma can sometimes also develop with normal eye pressures.

Chamber water and eye pressure

The convex shape of the eye is also maintained, because moisture is produced inside the eye. This moisture is called room water. This eye fluid has nothing to do with the external tear fluid.

The height of the eye pressure depends on the balance between production and removal of the aqueous humor. Eye pressure that is too high can be caused by obstruction to the drainage of aqueous humor.

Different types of glaucoma

Glaucoma comes in different forms:

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Normal eye pressure glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Open-angle glaucoma – The most common form of glaucoma.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma and acute glaucoma

Acute glaucoma creates high pressure in the eye in a short time. This is a serious threat to the eye and needs to be treated quickly.

Complaints can be:

  • blurred vision
  • Red eyes
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomit

Closed angle glaucoma Requires prompt treatment. It usually occurs in the elderly with strong positive (magnifying) glasses.

Closed angle glaucoma and chronic glaucoma The chronic form is more common and can be treated well at an early stage. Farsighted people with strong plus glasses have a high risk of closed angle glaucoma.

Normal eye pressure glaucoma This is a special form of glaucoma, in which serious damage to the optic nerve can occur without the eye pressure being clearly increased. Poor blood supply to the optic nerve often plays a role in this.

Congenital glaucoma This is rare, but glaucoma can occur at any age.

Glaucoma due to other eye diseases Glaucoma can also develop from other eye diseases. We then speak of secondary glaucoma.

Risk of glaucoma

In principle, anyone can get glaucoma. The main factors that increase the risk of glaucoma are:

  • increased eye pressure
  • presence of glaucoma in the family
  • age: getting older increases the risk of glaucoma
  • high myopia (strong minus glasses)
  • high farsightedness (strong plus glasses)
  • use of medicines or eye drops.
  • an eye accident

See also, Blood in the eye

Diagnosis of glaucoma

Expert eye control can reveal glaucoma at an early stage. After the fortieth year of life, this is especially important, especially when glaucoma runs in the family.

Eye pressure monitoring alone is not sufficient for this. The examination of glaucoma includes checking the interior of the eye and, if necessary, determining the field of view.

Treatment of glaucoma

After the diagnosis of glaucoma, the ophthalmologist first tries to lower the eye pressure. Usually with eye drops, sometimes also with tablets.

Sometimes a laser treatment follows. With a laser beam, the drainage of the internal eye fluid is improved, which reduces the eye pressure. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis.

Surgery may improve the drainage of the internal eye fluid so that the eye pressure drops sufficiently to prevent or stabilize damage to the optic nerve.

However, existing damage to the optic nerve and to the eyesight cannot be undone.

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