What is open angle glaucoma?
The most common form, chronic glaucoma is characterized by high intraocular pressure, optic nerve abnormality and changes within the field of vision. This form can be treated well when at an early stage. The development of open-angle glaucoma usually points to partial blockage of the drainage system, leading to an increase in intraocular pressure (usually > 21 mmHg). If pressure within the eye remains high for any length of time, damage and the gradual death of optic nerve fibres will occur with loss of vision as a result.
In contrast to chronic glaucoma, the symptoms of this form are very quickly apparent: painful, red and cloudy eyes. The eyeball feels hard and is very sensitive. The sufferer will usually complain of blurred vision. More general symptoms are nausea, headache, vomiting and abdominal pain.
It is very important that one recognises this syndrome, as its treatment must be carried out as soon as possible. Acute glaucoma can cause permanent and irreparable vision loss within a few days.
If chronic glaucoma has been diagnosed, the ophthalmologist will first attempt to reduce eye pressure with eye drops (collyrium).
If eye drops are no longer adequate, laser treatment can help. For chronic glaucoma the procedure is called laser trabeculoplasty, a technique in which laser energy is used to open the fluid drainage system within the eye and subsequently lower the eye pressure. If laser treatment is unsuccessful, surgery will be necessary. For chronic glaucoma, filtration surgery is carried out.
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