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Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
Monday, 06 April 2009 22:17

 

What is Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma? What is the treatment for Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma?

 

Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma worldwide and is one of the leading causes of blindness. POAG is the permanent atrophy or death of the nerve fibers in the eye caused by elevated pressure in the eye. This in-turn permanently causes one’s vision to disappear. The first part of the vision to disappear is one’s peripheral vision (side vision.) For this reason alone is why many people do not realize they have glaucoma until a significant amount of damage has occurred. This disease is a slowly progressive disease and damage typically occurs over years. If diagnosed with glaucoma it is important to routinely see your eye doctor. If not treated, overtime one will go blind.

 

When one goes to the eye doctor they will be screened for glaucoma. This is done most commonly by the air puffer tests (non-contact tomometry) or the blue light test (Goldman Tonometry.) Normal pressures are 10-21 mmHg. Any eye pressure above 21 mmHg requires further evaluation. This typically includes a eye dilation, side vision tests (visual field), corneal thickness test (pachymeter), nerve fiber analysis (GDx or HRT), multiple eye pressure readings, photographs of the eye, and special examination of the front part of the eye (anterior chamber and angle, gonioscopy.) All of this information is collected and the doctor will discuss your risks of glaucoma and/or your stage.

 

The major risk factors for glaucoma are:

1. Genetic Factors (Does anyone in your family have glaucoma?)

2. Intraocular pressures (Eye pressures greater than 21 mmHg; the higher the eye pressure the higher the risks)

3. Age (Older one is the more likely one will have damage from glaucoma)

4. Myopia (nearsightedness)

5. Vascular disease (high blood pressure, migraines, Reynaud’s disease, vasospastic disease)

6. Obesity

 

There is no cure for glaucoma. This is a progressive disease. It has been shown in many studies that high eye pressure is associated with the nerve fiber death. So the goal of glaucoma treatment is to decrease one’s eye pressure (intraocular pressure) to minimize the nerve fiber death. Glaucoma patients will have different target pressures. These pressures typically range between 10-18 mmHG.

 

Topical medication is the most common initial treatment for primary open angle glaucoma. There are many new topical medications available that are extremely effective at reducing eye pressure. Often one will start with one medication and add additional medications to reach their target eye pressure.

 

If medication alone is not effective then there are multiple surgical procedures that are effective at reducing eye pressures. The eye doctor will discuss your options.

 

Treatment

Antiglaucoma medications

Surgical procedures

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 January 2013 22:57
 

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