Glaucoma

Table of Contents

Several diseases lead to the condition known as glaucoma, which is a build-up of pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve. This damage causes eventual blindness.

There is no cure for glaucoma. With early detection, it is possible to slow and even stop the onset of eventual blindness.

Types

There are four main types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common.

  • Open-angle glaucoma – causes a slow buildup of pressure that can cause blind spots and lead to optic nerve damage. Often runs in families.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma – causes a sudden increase in eye pressure. This can be caused by medications and should be considered an emergency.
  • Secondary glaucoma – can cause open or closed-angle glaucoma. This is a result of a known factor, such as medication, disease, or injury.
  • Congenital glaucoma – this type is found in infants. It often runs in families and is a result of improper eye development.

Causes

Several diseases and conditions cause glaucoma. All of them result in a buildup of pressure in the fluid in the eyeball. This fluid is known as aqueous humor.

At the moment doctors do not fully understand how the pressure correlates to the damage to the optic nerve. Whether the cause is excess fluid or improper drainage, the result appears to be the same.

Doctors do know that pressure can be caused by illness, medication, and genetics.

Symptoms

There are two main sets of glaucoma symptoms that appear based on the type of glaucoma present.

With open-angle glaucoma, the symptoms come on very slowly. They tend to be a slow loss of peripheral vision or gradual blind spots.

Closed-angle glaucoma presents with rapid symptoms. They are:

  • Headache
  • Eye pain
  • Eye pressure
  • Red eyes
  • Rainbow halos
  • Nausea
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blind spots
  • Blurred vision

Treatment

There are two main treatments for glaucoma: medication, and surgery.

Under surgical treatment, there are options for laser surgery or conventional surgery.

Laser Surgery

With laser surgery, the options are dictated by the kind of glaucoma a patient is experiencing.

For open-angle glaucoma, a patient can elect to have trabeculoplasty. This procedure widens the natural drainage of the eye to prevent pressure buildup.

Iridotomy is used with closed-angle glaucoma and uses a laser to create a new hole in the iris where fluid can drain.

Conventional Surgery

Trabeculectomy is a surgery where a flap is cut in the eye to allow excess pressure to be released.

Glaucoma drainage devices can be implanted in the eye and allow the fluids to drain into the tissue below the eye.

Cataract surgery is the last option and with this, a surgeon removes the lens from the eye. This allows more space for the aqueous humor to flow freely.

Medication

Beyond surgery, eye drops and pills constitute the available glaucoma medication. There are a variety of options with eye drops, but the desired result is the lowering of the pressure in the eye fluid.

Prostaglandin Analogs (Increases Fluid Flow)

Beta Blockers (Decrease Fluid Production)

Alpha Agonists (Decrease Fluid Production and Increase Drainage)

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (Decreases Fluid Production)

Rho Kinase Inhibitors (Increase Drainage)

Combination Medications (Combine Two or More of the Above Medications)

 

Sources:

  1. National Institute of Health: National Eye Institute. Glaucoma. April 2022. Available at nei.nih.gov.
  2. MedlinePlus. Glaucoma. 2022. Available at MedlinePlus.gov.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. October 2020. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Glaucoma. November 2020. Available at clevelandclinic.org.
  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Glaucoma? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment. September 2021. Available at aao.org.
  6. Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma Medications and their Side Effects. March 2022. Available at glaucoma.org.
  7. Xalatan. Move Forward with Brand-name Xalatan. 2022. Available at xalatan.com.
  8. MedlinePlus. Timolol. January 2018. Available at medlineplus.com.
  9. Alphagan P. Don’t Compromise. 2022. Available at alphaganp.com.
  10. Mayo Clinic. Dorzolamide (Ophthalmic Route). February 2022. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  11. Rhopressa. Lower the IOP Floor. 2022. Available at rhopressa.com.
  12. Mayo Clinic Dorzolamide and Timolol (Ophthalmic Route). June 2022. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  13. MedlinePlus. Apraclonidine Ophthalmic. September 2016. Available at medlineplus.gov.
  14. Medscape. Brinzolamide. 2022. Available on medscape.com.
  15. MedlinePlus. Acetazolamide. September 2017. Available at medlineplus.gov.
  16. Simbrinza. Simbrinza. 2021. Available at simibrinza.com.
  17. Travan Z. Travan Z (Travoprost Ophthalmic Solution). June 2021. Available at travatanzhcp.com.
  18. Zioptan. Zioptan (Tafluprost Ophthalmic Solution). 2022. Available at zioptan.com.
  19. Mount Nittany Health. Neptazane Oral Tablet 50 mg. September 2021. Available at mountnittany.org.

Receive each of your BRAND NAME medications at little or no cost!

We can help you to apply for Patient Assistance Programs offered by pharmaceutical companies and get brand name medications at little or no cost.
Call Now Button