Health Guide
Drug Guide

Glaucoma

What is it?

Glaucoma (glaw-KO-muh) is an eye disease that can damage your optic nerve and cause loss of vision (sight). Although it can happen quickly, glaucoma more commonly steals a person's vision slowly over time. Some people do not know they have glaucoma until they begin to lose their side vision. Many people do not even know they have glaucoma until they have their eyes checked by an eye doctor. Glaucoma is a disease you will have for the rest of your life. You can have it in one or both of your eyes. There is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be controlled with medicine or surgery. Without treatment, you can lose some or all of your vision.

How does glaucoma damage the eyes? A clear fluid flows through the eye all the time to keep it moist (wet) and healthy. As new fluid is made, old fluid flows out of the eye through the trabecular (truh-BEK-u-ler) meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is a tiny drain system located where the iris and the cornea join together. With glaucoma, the drain system becomes blocked or clogged. Like a sink drain, clogging causes the old eye fluid to drain too slowly or not drain at all. Fluid builds up and increases pressure in the back of the eye. When the fluid pushes too hard against the optic nerve, the nerve becomes damaged. The optic nerve is the nerve of sight, which sends messages to your brain. When the messages reach the brain, you are able to understand what you are seeing. When the optic nerve is damaged, you may lose parts of your vision or you may become blind.

Is glaucoma always caused by high eye pressure?

Who is at high risk for having glaucoma?

What is primary open-angle glaucoma?

What are other less common types of glaucoma?

Wellness Recommendations:

To prevent glaucoma, diabetes and high blood pressure should be treated with medicine and diet.

Medical Care:

Eye tests will be done to learn about your glaucoma. To treat glaucoma, you may need medicines or surgery. Any vision that you have lost because of glaucoma may not return. You will need to have your eyes checked often to control glaucoma.

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

Supplements:

Recommended Screening Tests/Exams:

There is no cure for glaucoma but it can be treated and controlled if found early. A complete eye exam, to include checking the pressure, should be done every year starting at 40 years.

Other ways of treating your symptoms:

Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

References:

1. Meyer BH, Stulting AA, Muller FO et al: The effects of forskolin eye drops on intraocular pressure. S Afr Med J 1987; 71:570-571.


Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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