How Glaucoma Affects Your Vision

How Glaucoma Affects Your Vision

Many people believe Glaucoma is a problem of the elderly but the truth is that Glaucoma can affect anyone. Glaucoma can have devastating effects to the vision of the patient if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

The eye is composed of two compartments, with the larger of the two filled with a gel-like substance known as the vitreous humor. This helps the eye maintain its shape and size (roughly that of a ping pong ball) and transmits light to the back wall of the eye. The smaller “front” compartment is likewise filled with a liquid called the aqueous humor. This liquid carries nutrients to the eye and ferries waste away from it.

The aqueous humor flows from behind the iris and through the pupil of the eye filling the front chamber and then back out again through a drainage hole covered in a mesh like material and into a canal. About 90 to 95 percent of people who have glaucoma are experiencing a problem with this drainage system, but as there is no visual blockage or problem, no one knows what causes glaucoma. It could be that the fine mesh covering the drainage area loses the ability to allow proper drainage of this fluid.

Glaucoma generally develops slowly, over time. However, a rare, more acute form of the problem can develop suddenly if the iris closes the drainage canal. This is painful and will require treatment immediately.

A doctor can examine your eye and determine the treatment most suitable to your condition using a specialized instrument called a tonometer, which measures pressure inside the eyeball. Some tonometers will blow a puff of air to determine eye pressure, but others will have to touch the eye to make the same diagnosis.

In order to prevent vision loss from glaucoma, an early diagnosis and treatment is a must. Vision can be preserved if it is caught and treated before too many nerves have been destroyed by the increased pressure in the eye. Usually, treatment will be in the form of eye drops that can reduce the pressure in the eye, though it may be necessary to have surgery to open or repair the drainage canal in the eye.

Although the causes of glaucoma are not completely understood, if it is caught and treated early enough, vision can be protected in many cases.

Leave a reply