Glaucoma includes a group of diseases where there is a progressive loss of nerve fibers from the optic nerve (the nerve that carries visual information from the eye to the brain), and is usually associated with an increase in intraocular pressure. In our population, the primary type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, which increases with age and when there's a family history of the disease.
If not detected early, glaucoma leads to a progressive loss of the visual field (which initially doesn't manifest symptoms) and, ultimately, to total loss of vision, which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
Although glaucoma is not always associated with ocular hypertension, its treatment always involves the reduction of intraocular pressure, which can be achieved through the use of eye drops, laser or surgery. This treatment aims to prevent the continued loss of nerve fibers and thereby maintain vision.
Glaucoma encompasses a group of ocular diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve. This damage can result in a reduced visual field and even a complete loss of vision if the condition is not treated.
It is common in adulthood, but some forms of glaucoma, such as congenital glaucoma, only occur in childhood. This is a very rare condition affecting 1 out of every 30,000 live births, but it can cause severe and irreversible loss of vision in children who are affected.
Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure within the eye exceeds the range considered normal and above 21 mm hg. Increased intraocular pressure (progressive with age, although also due to other pathologies or causes) is the main risk factor for developing glaucoma, that is, people with high ocular hypertension are at greater risk of contracting the disease.
However, there are differences: it's ocular hypertension when the intraocular pressure is high, but the optic nerve isn't damaged, whereas, in cases of glaucoma, the optic nerve is already damaged, the patient experiences a loss of the visual field and, in extreme cases, may affect the central vision.
Trabeculoplasty is a procedure that currently is performed with a LASER Nd: YAG Modified (SLT - Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty), which is applied to the trabecular meshwork - the area where the aqueous fluid (the fluid that fills the eye) is drained. In this way it's possible to improve its flow, and to decrease the intraocular pressure.
Iridotomy is a procedure performed by YAG LASER and/or ÁRGON, which is indicated in cases where the angle between the cornea and the iris is narrow/closed, to prevent its closure, which may cause a marked rise in the intraocular pressure.
Trabeculectomy is one of the surgeries performed to decrease the intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. It consists of creating an alternative way of draining the aqueous humor from the inside of the eye to a small "vesicle" that lies under the upper eyelid.