WHAT IS GLAUCOMA
Glaucoma is an eye disorder which causes direct damage to the optic nerve (that carries information to the brain) in the eye, leading to permanent loss in the vision in if left untreated. It is mostly due to an increase in the pressure of the eye (due to fluid in the eye) and is generally inherited. Glaucoma usually occurs in both eye but the extent of damage may vary.
OVERVIEW OF HUMAN EYE
Eyes are our organ of sight. It has a number of components which include cornea, iris, pupil, lens, retina, macula, optic nerve, choroid and vitreous.
Cornea: It is mainly responsible for focusing the light in our eyes. It is the clear front surface of the eye, which acts like a camera lens. . The colored iris and the pupil (which is a black dot) can be seen clearly through the cornea. The cornea basically helps to focus the entering light on the retina, which is a light sensitive film, located at the back of the eye. The picture formed at retina is then passed on to the brain.
However, when the cornea is damaged or diseased it becomes less transparent or can change in shape preventing the light from reaching the retina and transmitting a distorted or an unclear image to the brain.
Iris: of the eye functions like the diaphragm of a camera, controlling the amount of light reaching the back of the eye by automatically adjusting the size of the pupil.
Accommodation: The eye's crystalline lens is located directly behind the pupil and further focuses the light, through a process called accommodation. This lens helps the eye to automatically focus on the near and approaching objects, similarly like an autofocus camera lens.
Retina: Light focused by the cornea and crystalline lens (and limited by the iris and pupil) reaches the retina. The retina acts like an electronic image sensor of a digital camera, converting optical images into electronic signals. The optic nerve then transmits these signals to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that controls our sense of s
SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA
Glaucoma is a “silent thief”. It causes damage to the eye permanently whose only symptom is weakening of eyesight by gradually darkened vision.
RISK FACTORS FOR GLAUCOMA
The risk factors for glaucoma include:
Age, mostly in people above 60 years of age
Center cornea thickness less than 0.5mm
Previous eye injury
Diagnosis is based on
Detailed patient history
This includes signs, symptoms and any associated risk factors
Through examination of the eye takes place.
Tonometry test- Test of inner eye pressure.
Slit lamp examination- It is a method to see the eyes through an illuminated slit light (3-D view).
Ophthalmoscopy – To examine the shape and the color of the optic nerve.
Perimetry (Visual field test) - Testing your field of vision.
Pachymetry- Thickness of cornea
Gonioscopy- To examine the angle of the eye where the iris meets the cornea.
Treatment depends on the severity of the glaucoma
Lifestyle modification by healthy lifestyle & regular check –ups.
The doctor may prescribe eye drops, Laser surgery or Micro surgery
These help to reduce the formation of aqueous medium in the eye or channelize its outflow. It therefore helps in maintaining an accurate pressure in the eye by reducing the chances of optic nerve damage. Some eye drops can cause side effect like-
Redness of the eye
Damage to heart and lung
Laser surgery helps in increasing the outflow of the fluid in the eye, therefore maintaining the intraocular pressure.
Various types of laser surgery are-
Trabeculoplasty- in this procedure, the trabecular mesh is pulled out to increase the outflow.
Iridotomy- In this procedure, a small hole is made in the iris to ease the outflow of the fluid present in the eye.
Cyclophotocoagulation- Here laser treats area of middle eye reducing the intraocular flow.
Microsurgery is known as trabeculotomy which is used to create drainage to reduce the intraocular pressure. The common complication of microsurgery are-
Temporary loss of vision
The main complication of glaucoma is loss of vision, which cannot be repaired.
Stress and interference in day to day activities (like driving, reading etc.)
Anger ,guilt, frustration, depression
Expensive treatment (for economically deprived)
Glaucoma can be prevented by
Maintaining a healthy weight.
Maintaining blood pressure at a normal level.
Limit caffeine intake
Preventing overexposure to sunlight
Get regular, comprehensive eye exams
GLAUCOMA TREATMENT IN INDIA
Being one of the top medical travel destinations, India provides a cost effective treatment to its international patients. The country houses numerous eminent and experienced opthalmologists and opthalmology hospitals with excellent facilities, infrastructure and modern medical technologies.
Technologies like new Keratome for Extra Thin Flap LASIK, Glaucoma Detection and Investigation Equipment, Oculoplasty Unit with surgical procedures for plastic surgery of the eye are all equipped within the opthalmogy hospitals.
Cost of Glaucoma Surgery in India
Glaucoma treatment in India is much affordable than in any other country. The cost of its treatment in India is approximately USD 1000 - 1500.