Glaucoma is the commonest cause of irreversible blindness in the world, It is called the silent thief of sight because it cause damage to the vision even before the patient realizes it.

What is glaucoma?

It is a condition of the eye where the pressure of the eye increases and causes an irreversible damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss and blindness.

Who is at risk for glaucoma?

a) Age more than 40

b) Family history of glaucoma

c) Diabetes

d)  far or nearsightedness

e) Injury to the eye in the past.

f) Use of medications like steroids

What are the different types of glaucoma?

It is commonly classified into 2 types an open angle type which usually gets detected by chance when the patient presents to the doctor with some other eye ailment and the closed angle type which may present with eye pain, redness , blurring of vision and headache.

There are other forms of glaucoma too like congenital glaucoma, drug induced glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma etc.

How do you diagnose glaucoma?

We do a battery of tests to establish the diagnosis of glaucoma. Measuring the intraocular pressure with an Applanation Tonometer and Fundoscopy to evaluate the damage to optic nerve being the most important ones. Other tests include Perimetry to evaluate the field of vision , Gonioscopy to distinguish between the 2 types of glaucoma  , OCT to evaluate the Retinal nerve fibre layer loss and Pachymetry to assess the corneal thickness

These tests help us to assess the degree of damage and establish a Target pressure which is the aim of the treatment.

How is glaucoma treated?

The treatment of glaucoma is aimed at reducing the eye pressure so that further damage to the optic nerve is stopped. Single or a combination of eye drops are given to control the eye pressure. Those which don’t get controlled by eye drops may benefit from laser therapy or glaucoma filtering surgeries.

What percentage of glaucoma patients go blind?

About 15% of glaucoma patients will lose the ability to read or see up close in one eye

Is glaucoma hereditary?

Primary, open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease, and it is hereditary. If anyone in your immediate family, particularly a parent or grandparent, has been diagnosed with glaucoma, you are four to nine times more likely to end up with the condition.

Why glaucoma is called ‘The Silent Thief of Sight’?

Glaucoma has been nicknamed the silent thief of sight because it often causes permanent vision loss before the disease is even detected. In its early stages, glaucoma does not typically present with any symptoms that would send you to your eye doctor with complaints of vision changes. Therefore, by the time you see your eye doctor, a large amount of vision loss has already occurred.

 How does glaucoma cause vision loss?

Glaucoma is caused by high levels of pressure with in the eye. This intraocular pressure (IOP) presses on the optic nerve, causing damage, and eventually leading to permanent vision loss.

Will glaucoma affect all of my vision?

Peripheral vision is affected first, and if not effectively controlled at this point, can result in tunnel vision. As the disease progresses, central vision is affected next, leaving the person with partial, or complete permanent vision loss.

When Should Glaucoma Screenings Start?

Glaucoma can affect anybody, which is why regular screenings are important. Because the symptoms of glaucoma can be mild, or even non-existent, it is recommended that individuals get a baseline screening at the age of 40. Some factors suggest a higher risk and may require earlier or more frequent screening,

Can I have LASIK surgery if I have glaucoma?

People being treated for glaucoma typically are not good candidates for LASIK. This is because a suction device is used on the eye during the creation of the corneal flap during LASIK surgery, and this briefly causes a significant increase in intraocular pressure.

But you might be a candidate for another type of vision correction surgery, such as PRK, which does not require the use of a suction device. 

Writer Bio

Dr. Saida Yasmeen is a specialist ophthalmologist at Aster Royal Hospital with 12 years of experience in the field. She is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating a wide range of eye conditions, from routine exams to complex surgeries. Her deep understanding of eye anatomy and physiology, combined with her commitment to staying current with industry advancements, makes her a highly respected and one of the best Ophthalmologist in Muscat, Oman. Dr. Yasmeen is dedicated to providing the highest quality care to all of her patients and making a positive impact on their vision and quality of life.