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All you need to know about Glaucoma

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     



Glaucoma is usually called the “silent thief of sight,” as most of its types generally cause no pain and exhibit no symptoms until prominent vision loss occurs.

Due to this reason, glaucoma often grows undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly dismantled. 

Glaucoma is an eye disease where fluid pressure within the eye rises, and if continued untreated, the victim may lose his sight and even become blind. The disease usually affects both eyes, but one may be more severely affected than the other. 

Types Of Glaucoma

The two major categories of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle glaucoma. The “angle” in both instances implies the drainage angle inside the eye that dominates the flow of the watery fluid (aqueous) which is continuously being forming inside the eye. 

  • Open-angle Glaucoma: It is one of the most common types of glaucoma, also known as wide-angle glaucoma. It is caused due to the slow clogging of the drainage canals by the aqueous. It is leading to increased eye pressure. It is also called chronic glaucoma.  

  • Angle-closure Glaucoma: It is a rare condition of glaucoma. It is caused when the drainage canals are barred or blocked, and the aqueous cannot approach it. It creates a sudden rise in intraocular pressure and is associated with distant vision and cataracts. It is also called acute angle-closure glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, this is the effect of the angle between the iris and cornea closing. 

Normal-Tension Glaucoma (NTG)

In normal-tension glaucoma (also called low-tension or normal-pressure glaucoma), there is damage to the optic nerve even though the pressure of the eye is not very powerful.  

The reason is still unknown that despite having normal pressure levels, why some people’s optic nerves are destroyed.  

Congenital Glaucoma

This glaucoma typically occurs in babies when there is any inaccurate or unfinished growth of the eye’s drainage canals during the fetal period.  

It is an uncommon disease that may be inherited. Microsurgery can often fix the structural errors in an uncomplicated case. Medication and surgery can also be advised depending on the circumstances. 

Other Types of Glaucoma

  • Secondary Glaucoma

  • Neovascular Glaucoma

  • Pigmentary Glaucoma

  • Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma

  • Traumatic Glaucoma

  • IridoCorneal Endothelial Syndrome (ICE)

  • Uveitic Glaucoma 

Glaucoma Symptoms

The most visible and common symptoms of glaucoma are:

  • Seeing halos like glows around lights

  • Vision loss

  • Blurred vision

  • Redness in the eye

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Severe eye pain

  • Tunnel vision

Glaucoma Causes

Glaucoma is the result of high fluid pressure inside your eyes that happens when the liquid in the front part of the eye doesn't circulate the way it ideally should.

Usually, the fluid, known as “aqueous humour”, flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel is blocked, the liquid builds up, causing glaucoma.

Some other causes include - an eye injury, old age, myopia, diabetes, severe eye infection and inflammatory conditions.

Can Diabetes cause Glaucoma?

People with diabetes may undergo diabetic retinopathy, which can be a significant reason for glaucoma. 

This can arise if abnormal blood vessel growth, which can happen due to the result of retinopathy, obstructs the normal drainage of the eye. 

Read more complications of Diabetic Retinopathy

Glaucoma VS Cataract

As you grow older, you may bother about acquiring glaucoma or cataracts, especially if you have a family record of these infirmities. Luckily, glaucoma and cataracts are not the same. Apart from a few risk factors, especially age and eye trauma, they are not connected. They even have different symptoms and treatments.  

A cataract targets the lens of the eye, leading to cloudiness or darkening of the lens, restricting light from penetrating back to the retina. You may have developing problems seeing well at night. 

There are no methods or treatments to prevent cataracts other than the surgery; however, you are not inclined to go for the surgery immediately after you have been diagnosed with this case. 

While cataracts are one primary condition, glaucoma is regarded as a group of progressive eye diseases that direct to failure of nerve tissue and slow vision loss. When left untreated, glaucoma will cause blindness.  

Diagnosis and Treatment for Glaucoma


A complete eye exam will be able to diagnose glaucoma. This includes measuring the eye pressure, inspect the drainage angle, and examine the optic nerve, cornea and peripheral vision. 

A standard test is a Noncontact Tonometry Test (NCT test) in which a brief puff of air will be given into the front of your eye. The machine measures the resistance of your eye to the whiff of air without contact with your eye. The puff of air is striking but is not disturbing.

Experts will then soon be able to conclude if you have glaucoma. 


The purpose of treatment is to adjust the flow of fluid from the eye and reduce its production. In most cases, initial treatment includes eye drops such as:

  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (such as brinzolamide or dorzolamide)

  • Beta-blockers (such as levobunolol hydrochloride or timolol)

  • Prostaglandin analogues (such as latanoprost, bimatoprost, tafluprost or travoprost) 

In severe conditions where drugs don’t work, surgery may be an option to bring down the pressure inside the eye. It may include laser treatment (laser iridotomy) and trabeculectomy surgery.  

Glaucoma Prevention

  • Nurture a healthy weight. Consume fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids, vitamin A, C, D, E, Zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

  • Maintain your average blood pressure and control other medical conditions.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Limit the intake of caffeine to moderate levels, because some data infer that high amounts of caffeine may grow eye pressure.

  • Try to exercise daily.

  • Prevent overexposure to sunlight. Wear sunglasses and hats.

  • Get timely, comprehensive eye exams, and consult your doctor if you notice differences in your vision. 

What foods to avoid if you have glaucoma?

There are no particular foods to avoid concerning glaucoma. However, caffeine, one of the main elements in coffee, can let some point rise in eye pressure that may persist for at least 90 minutes. 

A cup of coffee is not likely to cause any harm, but if you like to consume high amounts of coffee consider switching some of the intakes to decaffeinated.

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Tags:  Ophthalmology,eye care,Open-angle glaucoma, Narrow-angle glaucoma, Eye disease, Vision loss

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