Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by damage to the optic nerves. The most alarming thing about it is that if left unmanaged, it can later develop into blindness. There’s a reason why glaucoma earned the title “silent thief of vision.” The condition usually fails to provide noticeable symptoms during the early stages of its development and only shows up in the later phase of the disease.
This is the reason why eye specialists in Singapore continuously remind everyone to have their eye health checked regularly. Abiding by this measure will help prevent and manage glaucoma at an early stage.
Make sure to read until the end of this post to know more about your options when it comes to glaucoma treatment in Singapore.
What causes glaucoma and who are at risk?
Usual cases of glaucoma are caused by ocular hypertension or the elevated pressure within the eye. This happens when the aqueous humor, the fluid produced by the eye’s ciliary body, fails to flow freely and causes fluid buildup.
The condition mostly affects adults that are over the age of forty. However, since glaucoma can also be genetic and may be passed on to one’s children, the younger generation can also get it.
2 Main Types of Glaucoma
There are several types of glaucoma, but the two main ones are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Allow us to discuss each one a little deeper.
1. Open-Angle Glaucoma
This one is the more common type of the two and accounts for at least 90% of the total glaucoma cases. Open-angle glaucoma results when the eye’s drainage canal gets blocked, which hinders the eye’s fluid to flow normally. This causes fluid buildup, which is then associated with an increase in pressure around the eye.
Open-angle glaucoma may be chronic, as it develops very gradually and over a long period of time.
2. Angle-Closure Glaucoma
With angle-closure glaucoma, the entrance to the eye’s drainage canal is too narrow, or at times, completely closed. With this, the eye’s fluid cannot drain through the narrow angle, and again, causes fluid buildup and pressure to the eyes.
In the case of angle-closure glaucoma, eye pressure can escalate very quickly. Should you notice symptoms such as eye pain, headache, and blurry vision, we suggest that you immediately book an appointment to your nearest eye clinic in Singapore.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
As mentioned earlier, symptoms don’t always show up early on. One of the initial symptoms is the loss of peripheral or side vision. If you start noticing any of the following symptoms, make sure to consult with an eye specialist immediately.
- Hazy or blurred vision
- Seeing rainbow-coloured halos around lights
- Eye or head pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision loss
How is glaucoma treated?
The aim of glaucoma management is to lower pressure in the eyes and prevent further vision loss. Your eye care specialist may prescribe any of the following treatments: eye drops, laser, microsurgery.
- Eye Drops: Your eye health expert may ask you to apply drops at a prescribed schedule in order to decrease production or facilitate better outflow of fluid.
- Laser: Laser can be done either to open up blocked drainage canals or reduce the production of fluid in the eye. Procedures may include the following:
- Trabeculoplasty: Enables better flow of fluid by opening the drainage area of the eye.
- Iridotomy: Creation of tiny holes in the iris to facilitate fluid drainage and smooth flow moving forward.
- Cyclophotocoagulation: Reduction of fluid production by treating the areas of the middle layer of the eye.
- Microsurgery: During times when medication and laser surgery cannot lower ocular hypertension, microsurgery may be required. This is called trabeculectomy, where a channel is made for fluid to flow from the inside of the eye to the conjunctival space. Doing this facilitates smoother flow of fluid, which will then lower the pressure within the eye area.
There are no known ways on how to prevent the occurence of glaucoma. Vision loss caused by glaucoma cannot be restored either. Hence it needs be to reiterated—the earlier we detect your eye’s condition, the better chances we have in keeping glaucoma at bay and preserve the remaining sight that you have.