Glaucoma is an eye disease where the optic nerve (the nerve which connects the eye to the brain) gets damaged, usually due to high fluid pressure inside the eye (IOP = Intraocular Pressure).
In this disorder, the peripheral vision gradually constricts. As the central vision remains intact till the end stage of the disease, often patients do not have any symptom and hence do not seek medical advice for their eye condition. For this reason, diagnosis of glaucoma is often delayed and substantial visual field loss happens by the time proper diagnosis and treatment starts. Hence Glaucoma is called a silent killer.
Early diagnosis and regular follow-up of glaucoma is the key for controlling this potentially blinding disease. Checking IOP, Visual Field Analysis, Retinal Nerve Fiber Analysis are the mainstay of diagnosing glaucoma. Glaucoma usually develops in the early 40s. However, rarely babies are born with glaucoma (congenital glaucoma) and glaucoma can develop in teenagers as well (developmental glaucoma). It can develop de-novo or as a consequence of various eye disorders. Sometimes it runs in families also. So a positive family history of glaucoma mandates detailed eye examination.
Treatment of glaucoma depends on its type, stage and progression of the disease. Medical management includes medicines and lasers. Patients not responding to medical management may need surgery (Trabeculectomy).