Dubbed the ‘Silent Thief of Sight’, glaucoma often shows no early symptoms. Despite it being the leading cause of blindness worldwide, more than 90 per cent of people with glaucoma are unaware of it at the time of diagnosis. Glaucoma occurs when the aqueous humor (which normally flows in and out of the eye) cannot drain properly, resulting in increased pressure in the eye. Left untreated, glaucoma slowly causes intraocular pressure (IOP) to build up in the eye, gradually causing irreversible damage to the optic nerves and eventual blindness.
Risk factors and symptoms of glaucoma include:
– Age (approximately 3% of Singaporeans over the age of 50, and 10% over the age of 70 have glaucoma)
– A family history of glaucoma
– High myopia or hyperopia
– Advanced stages of cataract
– Long-term usage of steroid eye drops
– Persistent eye inflammation
– Previous injury or trauma inflicted on the eye
– Previous eye surgeries
– Certain chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
If you suspect that you have glaucoma, consult an eye specialist immediately. Early detection and prevention can help to minimize the damaging effects of glaucoma.
As a result of chronic glaucoma, eye pressure gradually increases, damaging the optic nerves and eventually resulting in blindness. Chronic glaucoma manifests without any noticeable early symptoms. Without regular eye checks, chronic glaucoma often goes undetected until it is in the severe stages, by which point significant irreversible damage has occurred in the eye. There are two types of chronic glaucoma – open-angle chronic glaucoma and chronic angle-closure glaucoma.
In acute glaucoma, the flow of aqueous fluid is abruptly stopped, leading to a sudden increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). This condition is considered an emergency because optic nerve damage and vision loss can occur within hours of the problem. Common symptoms of acute glaucoma include sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, one-sided headaches, seeing haloes around light, eye pain and blurring of vision.There are two types of acuteglaucoma – open-angle acute glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
Even people with “normal” intraocular pressure (IOP) can experience vision loss – this condition is called normal tension glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged even though the intraocular pressure (IOP) is considered normal. Although normal tension glaucoma is not yet fully understood, doctors have found that lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) has been in fact been shown to be effective in slowing its progression.
This rare form of glaucoma can start as early as in infancy, childhood or adolescence. This condition is often hereditary. Childhood glaucoma oftentimes causes enlargement of the infants eyes, corneal haze, tearing and unusual light sensitivity.
Glaucoma Treatment Overview at Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre
Glaucoma can be treated using eye drops, laser treatment, or surgery (iStent). Glaucoma is a complex eye disease that requires early detection and long-term maintenance. If you suspect you have glaucoma, consult an ophthalmologist immediately.
– Experienced, trusted ophthalmologist
– More than 20 years of experience
– Individualized treatment plans
– Variety of treatment options (eye drops, lasers, surgery)
– Patient-centric, holistic, comprehensive eye care
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