Glaucoma: Overview

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:34 by admin
Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure within the eyeball increases, causing harm to the optic nerve and eventual loss of vision. In a healthy eye, a thin fluid called aqueous humor is produced in the back of the eye (posterior chamber) and passes through the pupil into the front of the eye (anterior chamber). The fluid then drains from the eye through outflow channels.

In those suffering from glaucoma, fluid builds up in the front part of the eye and does not drain properly through the outflow channels. The accumulation of fluid causes pressure within the eye to increase, leading to glaucoma and eventual damage to the optic nerve.

Usually, glaucoma can be detected with a simple test called tonometry, a painless procedure which measures intraocular pressure. Measurements exceeding 20 to 22 millimeters indicate increased pressure and possible glaucoma.

Those suffering from glaucoma experience a loss of peripheral vision and eventual blindness. Symptoms of the condition include, but may not be limited to, decrease in vision, colored halos around lights, pain in the eyes and head, swollen eyelids, and red and watery eyes. Sometimes irreversible damage caused by glaucoma may occur even without the onset of symptoms.

Medications and laser surgery can be used to successfully treat glaucoma if the condition is recognized in its early stages. Certain drugs, such as the epilepsy medication Topamax, may actually cause glaucoma.

See Also

  1. Eye Disorders
  2. Topamax / Topiramate
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