Glaucoma and the eye
Glaucoma: symptoms and treatment
Blindness, vision loss, pressure, aqueous humor, humor draining, cornea-iris angle, optical nerve, anoxia, hypertension, open angle glaucoma, narrowing of the visual field
Diagnosis: visual acuity, examination of the optic nerve or the papilla inside the eye, optic nerve damage
Fortuitous or targeted detection of glaucoma usually occurs when patients over 40 come in because they have started suffering from farsightedness. In other cases it is detected in the aftermath of an accident with a car which had suddenly appeared on the side of the patient’s peripheral visual field, this area being the first to be affected by the disease. And finally, it is sometimes discovered during a check up at the ophthalmologist due to very subtle symptoms such as headaches, eye pain, and visual fatigue.
The term glaucoma actually encompasses several distinct diseases.
1 – Drug treatment :
A – beta blockers = Timolol, Metipranolol, carteolol+
B – Prostaglandins = Latanoprost, Travoprost, Tafluprost, Bimatoprost
C – Carbonic anhydrase inhibiteurs: acetazolamide, brinzolamide, dorzolamide
D – Pilocarpine
E – Alpha 2 Adrenergic: Brimonidine, Apraclonidine
F – A combination of different treatments
G – New preservative-free eye drops
A recent study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology in February 2010 reviews 21,000 cases of people affected by Glaucoma and demonstrates that those patients treated by glaucoma eye drops enjoyed an increased longevity.
Over a four year period, mortality dropped 74% among people treated with beta blocker eye drops, a prostaglandin analogous or even a combination of drugs.
If you’re looking for another good reason to take your eye drops, well, you can’t beat this one…
2 – Standard surgical treatment:
Trabeculotomy seeks to section the trabecular meshwork and make a hole to drain the aqueous humor. Trabeculectomy removes the trabecular meshwork and the procedure is often replaced by the following more advanced techniques:
3 Laser surgical treatment is designed to make draining holes in the trabecular meshwork.
4 A valve treatment such as the Ahmed glaucoma valve which allows the aqueous humor to permanently drain properly
Blindness caused by glaucoma
2nd leading cause of blindness globally, about 67 million people in 2010; 80 million by 2020
An insidious disease with no warning symptoms that destroys the optical nerve
Prevalence: 2.2-3% in the West , 6% in Asia
Treatment cost: $2-5000/year
Social price of blindness caused by glaucoma = $1.2 billion annually in the USA