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Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers damage due to increased pressure inside the eye leading to an inability to see. If a patient does not take medicine regularly, blindness, may occur. Glaucoma was named (blue water) as the patient sees sometimes blue halos around the sources of light.

Causes of Glaucoma

The eye constantly excretes liquid (aqueous fluid inside the eyeball) to maintain its spherical shape. This fluid is discharged through tiny channels available in the eye angle i.e. between iris and cornea, in a manner which keeps the level of eye pressure within the natural limits.

The unbalance between the secreted and discharged quantity (i.e. when secretion is more than discharge because of narrowing of discharging channels) leads to gathering of aqueous humor within the eye, consequently raises the pressure within the eyeball, causes pressure on the optic nerve and retina and makes gradual damage to optic nerve.

Glaucoma Types

Open-angle Glaucoma: Gradual weakness in vision without feeling any pain;

  • Eye pains
  • Nausea
  • Severe weakness in vision, especially in low light
  • Seeing colored haloes around the source of light
  • Redness of the eye

Congenital Glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma occurs in new born children or after few months from their birth, the symptoms include:

  • Abnormal increase in the eye size.
  • Enlargement of the eye cornea.

They might be accompanied by loss of transparency of the eye, thus turning into white.

People Vulnerable to Be Affected with Glaucoma:

People with ocular hypertension. The elderly. People descending from an African race. People with family history of Glaucoma. People suffering diseases, such as diabetes, heart disorders, high blood pressure and thyroid. Eye conditions, such as tumors, retinal detachment, nearsightedness and eye injuries. People using cortisone: particularly eye drops for a very long period.


If left untreated, Glaucoma will cause loss of sight. It unusually passes through the following stages: Blind spots in the peripheral vision.

  • Tunnel vision.
  • Complete blindness.


Diagnosis of Glaucoma depends on the disease history and symptoms.

  • Clinical examinations which include:
  • Measuring intraocular pressure.
  • Testing the optic nerve to reveal slight changes that may indicate the beginnings of glaucoma.
  • Testing the visual field.
  • Testing visual acuity.
  • Measuring cornea thickness.


Glaucoma diagnosis and early treatment are main factors for the prevention of blindness. The treatment focuses on reducing eye pressure to acceptable rates, thus avoiding damage of the optic nerve and tissue.

===Treatment using drugs either drops or tablets=== ​​This kind of treatment increases the level of aqueous water discharged or reduce its production. In most cases, drops are enough and useful if the patient fully follows physician's instructions. These drops include prostaglandins, beta blockers, alpha-adrenergic agonists and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors.

Laser Treatment

The laser is very effective with all types of Glaucoma. It is used to cure:

Open-angle Glaucoma

The laser enlarges the angle through which aqueous liquid is discharged to maintain eye pressure within the normal limits. In some Glaucoma cases, the physician might be forced to conduct a surgical intervention, such as: Filtering surgery: The physician creates an opening in the sclera — the white part of your eye — and removes a small piece of eye tissues to allow the discharging of eye liquid, thus reducing intraocular pressure. Transplantation of filtering tools: The physician might resort to put a tiny tube to facilitate the discharging of eye liquid, thus reducing intraocular pressure.


Those over 40 years old should have their eyes examined every 3 to 5 years. People over 60 years old, their eyes should be examined annually.

  • Treatment of ocular hypertension reduces glaucoma incidences.
  • Eating healthy food and maintaining blood pressure within the natural limits.
  • Avoiding severe eye injuries by wearing protection glasses.


Topics in Ophthalmology

National Eye Institute Eye Topics

























Also see the following articles on Glaucoma

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WikiMD Resources for Glaucoma

Articles on Glaucoma

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Evidence Based Medicine

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  1. Cochrane Collaboration on Glaucoma
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  1. Symptoms of Glaucoma
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