Glaucoma (Green Star)
Green Star is a frequent eye disease, most often linked with increased intraocular pressure (IOP) caused by a hindrance to the aequous drainage of the eye. The increased liquid presses on the retina and the fibers of the optic nerve which gets damaged over time. Many people suffer from glaucoma without knowing about it in beginning as the disease is more often than not completely pain free.
The decrease of sight happens gradually. Patients get used to the deficit and only realise they have a disease at a later stage. Hints can be headaches, pain of the eye or a temporary decrease in sight.
At birth a human being has about 1 million fibers of the optic nerve. Glaucoma continuously damages those fibers. When suffering from the most common, so called open-angle glaucoma the disease is a slow and pain free process, that often only gets noticed from the patient quite late. Only after loosing 80-90% of the nerve will the patient notice the image getting darker or smaller.
For patients with small eyes, glaucoma can cause an acute increase of IOP. The patient will often notice a decrease in sight on one eye, a flushed, red eye, nausea or headache. In the case of suspected one-sided glaucoma, it is necessary to visit the doctor or emergency services immediately.
Due to the painfree course of the disease, the best way to diagnose it, is the routine check-up at the ophthalmologist. Three types of examinations have proven to be the best here:
- Measurement of the visual field with a perimeter: the patient looks into a hemisphere, with flashes appearing at different points. The noticed flashes are recorded and analysed. Areas where the patient does not notice the flashes indicate areas with lost vision.
- Observation of the ocular fundus: detection of damage to the optical nerve by examining the fundus in the area of the blind spot.
- Eye pressure measurement on the tonometer: one of the most damaging symptoms is the increased IOP. Should this be higher than 21 mmHg, this can ba an indicator for a beginning glaucoma.