Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) resulting either from a malformation or malfunction of the eye’s drainage structures. The eye constantly produces aqueous, which fills the anterior chamber, the space between the cornea and iris. If the aqueous can’t filter out of the anterior chamber through a complex drainage system, glaucoma occurred. If left untreated, glaucoma may lead to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resulted in vision loss. Normal people’s IOPs fall between 8 and 21 when the patients will be much higher, and it can be a signs for developing glaucoma.
There are several types of glaucoma, common types including open angle, acute angle closure, secondary glaucoma and congenital glaucoma. Some types of glaucoma such as angle closure and congenital have symptoms, for example, sudden decrease of vision, extreme eye pain, headache, or light sensitivity. But in most case, glaucoma does not have symptoms. This is reason why glaucoma has been called the “sneak thief of sight” causing the loss of vision gradually over a long period of time and is often recognized when the disease is quite advanced. So people with symptoms or those who are more than 40 years old should have an annual examination including the screening for glaucoma, for example measuring the intraocular pressure, or if necessary doctor will evaluate the health of optic nerve by ophthalmoscopy and the peripheral vision and the structures in the front of the eye by gonioscopy.
Most patients with glaucoma only need to control the eye pressure. They may use one or several medications, usually eye drops, to reduce the pressure. Surgery may be carried out when medical treatment fails to control the pressure, in order to allow fluid to drain from the eye efficiently.