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Chronic glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve (neuropathy) and is characterized by gradual loss of field of vision. It has an impact on changes in the optic nerve, caused by high intraocular pressure – ocular hypertension. The disease occurs gradually and painlessly, permanently damaging the eyes.
Causes of chronic glaucoma
Despite its recognition as multifactorial, the most common cause of this disease is elevated intraocular pressure.
The fluid that is continuously excreted to the front of the eye for the purpose of nourishing the tissues and maintaining the correct shape of the eye is usually drained at an angle through the structure of the eye between the iris and the edge of the cornea. When glaucoma occurs, the fluid in the eyeball is blocked, which in turn raises the pressure inside the eye. This situation leads to optic nerve (it is responsible for the transfer of nerve impulses from the retina to the brain) damage and may cause a gradual loss of vision.
The main reason for this is not known, but one can list the risk factors that contribute to the onset of the disease:
- older age – usually around the age of 60,
- inheritance – the history of family diseases, most commonly in the African population,
- eye disease like myopia.
Chronic glaucoma does not cause obvious symptoms at the time of occurrence of the disease, and as it progresses, they may appear some visual field defects, which sometimes become a nuisance. In parallel with the successive stages of the disease may worsen vision in the dark and when moving from dark to light places.
The chronic form of glaucoma often shows no symptoms until the late years of life, which contributes to permanent vision loss. First appear the problems with the vision on the outer edges of the eye, blurring of vision and difficulty in focusing the eyes.
It is recommended to do preventive examinations every two years after age 40, which will help to diagnose the disease in its early stages, preventing permanent damage.
Diagnosis and treatment of chronic glaucoma
Chronic glaucoma can be detected at an early stage during a routine eye examination. Ophthalmologist most often uses the tonometry – measurement of the pressure within the eye and examine the ocular fundus.
The initial stages of chronic glaucoma are treated pharmacologically to reduce intraocular pressure. They are used eye drops, which allow keeping the disease in check for many years. However, if the condition is getting worse, laser or surgical treatment is used, with safe measures depending on the severity of the disease in the patient.
The disease is not easy to prevent, but in the risk group, it is worth taking care of proper intraocular pressure, which satisfactorily helps avoid the development of the disease.
Chronic glaucoma is a disease so severe that it should not be underestimated. It is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. It is, therefore, important to take care of early detection, prevention and appropriate treatment that will slow down or even completely prevent progression of blindness.