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Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, who conducts the images we see to the brain. The condition is usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure causes damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S.. Once the optic nerve is damaged, vision is not recovered; ever. Timely detection is key to prevention.
The cause of glaucoma is largely due to an imbalance of aqueous humor. The aqueous humor is a clear fluid that fills the front of the eye. Circle between the iris and the crystalline lens, passes through the pupil into the anterior chamber and then drained some veins on the surface above the eye. There is a delicate balance between the amount of aqueous humor produced and the amount that drains from the eye, so that the pressure inside the eye remains relatively constant and within normal limits. If there is any obstruction to flow out at any point, there will be increased pressure inside the eye and can develop glaucoma. This pressure is independent of blood pressure.
There are basically two types of glaucoma, primary, ie not caused by one or more other conditions. The most common is classified as chronic open-angle glaucoma. In this type of drainage angle is open, but is not effective. Such no symptoms in early stages, the visual field is affected as it affects the nerve. The other type of glaucoma is classified as closed-angle glaucoma. At this rate the iris of the eye is very close to the drainage angle of aqueous humor and well when it freezes the liquid can not go out and then there is an increase in intraocular pressure. This kind of glaucoma is considered an emergency and must be treated immediately to prevent blindness and have symptoms that include a lot of pain, red eyes, nausea and vomiting, pain on the eyebrow color and halos around lights, poor vision. There are also secondary glaucoma which are due to other conditions of the eye. Glaucoma can develop without an increase in pressure within the eye and is called low-tension glaucoma or normal tension. It is not as common as the open-angle glaucoma.
Risk factors for developing glaucoma include: people older than 60 years, African-Americans or Hispanics over 40 years, thickness of thin cornea, people with family history of glaucoma, history of diabetes, poor circulation, hypertension and migraine.
Glaucoma has no symptoms at first. As the damage to the optic nerve progresses the patient begins to lose peripheral vision (Vision of the sides) and when the condition is advanced has a loss of central vision causing irreversible blindness.
Glaucoma can be detected through regular eye examinations. The review should include: test eye pressure, examining drainage angle (gonioscopía), examination of the optic nerve with dilated pupils, visual field, measure the thickness of the cornea, among others. It is important to get a review every 6 to 12 months.
Once an eye professional has diagnosed glaucoma, we must begin treatment to delay the progress of optic nerve damage. The methods used to treat glaucoma consist of: application of eye drops, oral medication, laser surgery, conventional surgery (operating room) it is important that follow-up visits to the doctor be made to prevent blindness. Remember that once the optic nerve is affected damage is irreversible.