Glaucoma is one of the most well-known eye conditions and affects many people. This condition is progressive and chronic in nature. Currently, there is no true cure for glaucoma but there are many treatments available to help reduce the progression and damage. For a true cure, the condition must be able to be eradicated from the eye or body and glaucoma is a chronic condition that can only be modified and not cured. Despite not having a cure, glaucoma treatment is very effective and can minimize the risk of any loss of vision.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye pressure is too high inside the front of the eye and it causes damage to the optic nerve and the retina in the back of the eye.
When the eye pressure is higher than tolerable, it begins to put force on the optic nerve fibers and can cause damage to these nerves by shearing them due to the eye pressure.
The fluid within the front of the eye controls the eye pressure. As the fluid is made and drained, it should maintain steady pressure.
However, if the fluid is made too quickly or drained too slowly, the eye pressure can rise and begin to cause damage to the eye.
How is the Optic Nerve Changed in Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is truly a disease of the optic nerve. While the eye pressure in the front of the eye is the major factor that determines the amount of damage that can occur, the optic nerve is where any damage will occur.
The optic nerve is responsible for communicating with the brain and transmitting all the visual input from the eyes to the brain.
With glaucoma, small nerve fibers on the outside of the optic nerve can begin to be damaged and prevented from sending the signal to the brain.
If enough of these nerve fibers are prevented from signaling the brain, it can lead to areas of vision loss in the visual field called visual field defects.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Glaucoma treatment centers on the lowering of eye pressure to prevent additional damage to the optic nerve.
If the eye pressure is lowered into the normal range, the risk of more damage to the optic nerve or nerve fibers is lowered significantly.
Regardless of the treatment, glaucoma will still be present and have the potential to cause additional damage.
Can Glaucoma Ever Be Cured?
When considering the possibility of a true cure for glaucoma, the underlying cause of the elevated eye pressure must to determined.
If there was a single factor that was causing the high eye pressure – for instance, if the natural drain was simply too small – then a cure could target this single factor.
Unfortunately, most cases of glaucoma have many factors involved and it is very difficult to identify a single cause of the high eye pressure.