WHAT IS OPEN ANGLE GLAUCOMA?
The eyeball is full of fluid which is under a certain amount of pressure so that the eye does not lose its shape. This fluid is constantly replaced; new fluid is separated within the eye and an equal quantity of old fluid flows away along internal channels to the bloodstream.
If the fluid does not flow away properly, this increases pressure on the eye. With open angle glaucoma we see the gradual demise of optic nerve cells if the pressure on the eye is constantly too high. With glaucoma the pressure on the eye is usually above 21mmHg (millimetre mercury pressure). Note: open angle glaucoma is often hereditary.
However, not everyone with increased pressure on the eye suffers from glaucoma, since some people’s optic nerve cells can cope with higher pressure on the eye. Your eye doctor can discern whether or not your high pressure on the eye has to be treated. If you do not require treatment, you must still go for a check up regularly.
On the other hand, not everyone with normal pressure on the eye is safe because some people have sensitive optic nerve cells which fall into decline under an eye pressure of less than 21mmHg. An additional poor blood circulation of the eye is often the cause of this. This is why an eye pressure reading on its own can give a false sense of security.
Eye fundus investigation is used to establish the extent to which the optic nerve shows a cavity. This can also be seen by taking photographs. Increasing cavity at successive visits is a sign of glaucoma.
- Eye pressure reading with non-contact or contact method.
- Field of vision examination or perimetry is carried out with a perimeter in order to trace premature blind zones long before the patient notices them himself or herself.
- Examination of the front chamber angle (gonioscopy) in order to determine which form of glaucoma is present.
- Examination of the cornea thickness (pachymetry) as a correction factor for the recorded eye pressure reading.
- Examination of the front chamber (angle): ‘Schleimpflug’ analysis.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Medication (eye collyres), laser (laser trabeculoplasty), and surgery (filtration procedure)