Glaucoma

Disorder characterized by buildup of fluid in the eye which damages optic nerve. Since the symptoms do not begin to show until significant damage has occurred, regular eye checkups for ocular hypertension is recommended. Treatment paths include eye drops to relieve pressure by slowing production of fluids, and surgery in advanced cases.

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Causes

The cause of glaucoma generally is a failure of the eyes to maintain an appropriate balance between the amount of internal (intraocular) fluid produced and the amount that drains away. Underlying reasons for this imbalance usually relate to the type of glaucoma you have. The eyeball needs internal fluid pressure to retain its globe-like shape and ability to see but when something affects the ability of internal eye structures to regulate intraocular pressure (IOP), eye pressure can rise to dangerously high levels — causing glaucoma.


Symptoms

There are three main symptoms that a parent is likely to notice::

  • Involuntary protective closing of the eyelids
  • Painful oversensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing

Depending how far the disease has progressed, other symptoms can include:

  • Cloudiness of the cornea, the normally clear front layer of the eye
  • Enlargement of one or both eyes
  • Red eye

Treatment

The first choice for treating primary congenital glaucoma is almost always surgery. And because of the risk for young children associated with anesthesia, the surgery is often performed at the same time the diagnosis is confirmed. If the primary congenital glaucoma affects both eyes, the doctor will normally operate on both at the same time.
In some cases when surgery can't be performed immediately, the doctor will prescribe eye drops, oral medicine, or a combination of both to help control pressure before surgery.
One common approach is microsurgery. This uses small surgical instruments to create a drainage canal for the excess fluid.
Sometimes the doctor will implant a valve or small tube to allow the fluid to drain from the eye.
If the usual surgery or implanting a tube isn't effective, the doctor may perform laser surgery to destroy the area where the fluid is produced. In some cases following surgery, the doctor will prescribe medicine to help control pressure in the eye.