Glaucoma is more common among older people but it happens in any age groups as well. Untreated glaucoma can lead to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant visual field loss, which over time can progress to blindness. Glaucoma can be divided into 2 main types: Acute glaucoma will cause sudden eye pain, headache and vomiting; while chronic one does not have significant symptoms which may cause delay in treatment. Therefore, it is important to have a comprehensive eye examination regularly.
The nerve damage involves loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern. This can permanently damage vision in the affected eye(s) and lead to blindness. Worldwide, glaucoma is one of the leading cause of blindness. People with high myopia, hypertension, cataracts, diabetes, and those immediate family member with glaucoma are at higher risk for glaucoma. Moreover, improper usage of steroid will also increase the risk of glaucoma.
Open-angle, chronic glaucoma tends to progress at a slower rate and patients may not notice they have lost vision until the disease has progressed significantly. Untreated glaucoma can cause blindness and loss of vision, which cannot be regained.
Normally, intraocular pressure (IOP) should be below 21mmHg. If a patient with low tension glaucoma, some other tests have to be carried out in order to make diagnosis of glaucoma. For example, visual field testing, pachymetry, optic nerve imaging and Optical Coherence Tomography.
With advanced equipment, we can early diagnose glaucoma patients and better manage the disease, by observing their nerve damage or visual field loss. Optical Coherence Tomography, below named OCT, can obtain high-resolution images of different layers of the retina and the anterior segment of the eye, providing a straightforward method of assessing axonal integrity in glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, as well as macular hole and degeneration. Regular comprehensive eye examinations can help detect glaucoma in its early stages before irreversible damage occurs.