Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the World. It is a disease that typically affects older people, but it can occur at any age, even in the newborn. Loss of vision is preventable if the disease is detected early and treatment is started. Glaucoma is typically known as a disease of high pressure inside the eye causing damage to its structures, but some eyes are sensitive even to lower pressures-normal tension glaucoma.
In the healthy eye, a clear fluid called aqueous humor circulates inside the front portion of your eye. To maintain a constant healthy eye pressure, your eye continually produces a small amount of aqueous while an equal amount of this fluid flows out of the eye. In glaucoma, the aqueous humor does not flow out of the eye properly. Fluid pressure in the eye builds up and, over time, causes damage to the optic nerve fibers.
The eye has about 1 million tiny nerve fibers which run from the back of the eye to the brain. These nerve fibers allow us to see. When the pressure rises in glaucoma, it presses on these nerve fibers causing their damage.
The average pressure for most people is 10-21. In classic glaucoma the optic nerve becomes damaged when the pressure gets above 21. This is called Primary Open Angle Glaucoma. However, Many people with a susceptibility to glaucoma do have optic nerve damage with much lower pressures. This is called Normal Tension Glaucoma
For most people with glaucoma, there are absolutely no warning signs, The only way to detect glaucoma and preserve your sight is to be tested by an eye specialist. During ‘applanation’, the preferred method of testing eye pressure, the eye is anesthetized with eye drops and you are asked to look at a blue light. Then, using a special instrument, Dr Khalil briefly touches the surface of the eye to measure the pressure. He will also look inside the eye to examine the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. The test itself is simple and painless. If there are any abnormalities, additional testing may be needed.
Early detection of glaucoma is the key factor in preserving good eye sight in most patients. Dr Khalil has detected many cases, which were otherwise passed undiagnosed, of early glaucoma. We have access to the latest and most advanced means of glaucoma detection including the newest visual field examination machines and nerve fiber layer analysis. This will sometimes allow detection of glaucoma long before other tests show any signs of disease. Routine eye examinations are recommended.
Examining the angle of your eye is a simple test which involveds temporary application of a contact lens onto your eye
Depending on the type and severity of the glaucoma, Dr Khalil may recommend eye drops, glaucoma laser eye surgery or conventional glaucoma surgery as the best option for you. Dr Khalil almost always performs his glaucoma treatments under local anaesthetic and whichever option he recommends, the objective will be the same: to reduce the pressure causing the glaucoma and preserve the vision in your eye as safely and painlessly as possible.