With more than a million cases per year in India, Glaucoma is surely not a lesser-known eye disease. Although the effects of glaucoma and the rest of the necessary details are only ever known to patients themselves or their relatives, knowing more about glaucoma is never a bad idea. If anything, with better awareness, it will be easier to spot the symptoms of glaucoma from the early stages itself. Keep reading to find out all about glaucoma, its symptoms, the treatment, and more.
What do you mean by Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve and overtime continues to worsen. Linked to the buildup of pressure inside the eye, glaucoma often runs in families and is the main cause of blindness in people older than 60. Although glaucoma can be caused due to increased pressure in the eyes or intraocular pressure, it can be slowed if not prevented when found during the early stages. Intraocular pressure on the eyes can damage the optic nerves present. This can interfere with the optic nerve's ability to send images to our brain. When left untreated or undiagnosed, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or complete blindness in just a few years.
Most patients with glaucoma do not show any symptoms of this disease in the initial stages. This makes glaucoma a very dangerous eye disease. You must book an appointment with a good eye doctor every once in a while to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Once a person has lost vision due to glaucoma, it cannot be treated or corrected. Many patients with glaucoma can slow down the damage done due to glaucoma with the help of regular eye check-ups and proper treatment plans.
Causes Of Glaucoma
As we have already discussed, glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerves. The rapid deterioration of the optic nerves can cause blind spots to appear in your visual field. The increased pressure on the eyes can be caused due to the buildup of a fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid flows throughout the inside of the eye and is eventually drained out through a tissue called the trabecular meshwork present at the angle where the iris and cornea meet. In some cases, aqueous humor is overproduced or the trabecular meshwork fails to drain out the fluid, which can then cause blockage. This inevitably increases the pressure on the eyes and damages the optic nerves.
Glaucoma also runs in families and can be passed from parent to child. But glaucoma is not caused due to an increase in intraocular pressure and inheritance only. It can also be caused due to blunt or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, inflammatory conditions inside the eye, and blocked blood vessels.
Symptoms Of Glaucoma
Symptoms of glaucoma include:
- vision loss
- blurred/distorted vision
- eye pain and pressure
- halos around lights and rainbow rim
- redness in the eye
- fatigue in visual organs
- narrowed vision field
- blind spots
- nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma surgery is done when treatment with eye drops or laser has failed to treat the disease. The most common type of glaucoma surgery is trabeculectomy, which involves the removal of a part of the drainage tube to facilitate proper draining of aqueous humor. This surgery is carried out under local anesthesia (when awake) and general anesthesia (when asleep). There are four other types of glaucoma surgery as well:
i) Trabeculotomy: involves the use of electric current to remove a small part of the eye drainage tube.
ii) Viscocanalostomy: involves the removal of the sclera (white outer covering of the eyeball) to help eye drainage.
iii) Deep Sclerotomy: involves widening of the drainage tubes present in the eye. It sometimes involves the implantation of a tiny device inside.
iv) Trabecular Stent Pass: Involves inserting a tiny tube to facilitate proper drainage of the eye.
v) Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS): Mild glaucoma can be treated with MIGS, which is the latest approach in glaucoma treatment and has fewer risks and side effects with quick recovery.
So, how long does glaucoma surgery take? It takes around 1-2 hours and the patient is usually administered eye drops after the surgery is done. Glaucoma surgery recovery time takes approximately 3-4 weeks. It can linger for a few months in rare cases.
After the surgery, patients will experience mild discomfort and their vision will remain blurry. Swelling and redness can also be seen after the procedure has been done. Any kind of extreme pain or irritation must be reported to the doctor immediately. You will not be able to drive with such poor eyesight, thus it will be easier if you book a cab or someone to pick you up after the surgery. After the surgery, you will have to take time out of a busy schedule and just relax. Avoid strenuous activities of all kinds. Make sure you follow up with your doctor and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes after the surgery.
The glaucoma surgery cost in India ranges from INR 15,000 to INR 50,000. One must be extra careful while choosing a facility for this surgery. The safest and most effective glaucoma surgery in Delhi is provided at Eterna Vision and Aesthetics. Book an appointment with us for better vision!