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What is Glaucoma?:glaucoma.org:"Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steals sight without warning and often without symptoms. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires and is responsible for carrying the images we see to the brain. It was once thought that high intraocular pressure (IOP) was the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with "normal" IOP can experience vision loss from glaucoma"
http://www.glaucoma.org/learn/

Types of glaucoma:glaucomafoundation:"There are a variety of different types of glaucoma. The most common forms are: Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Normal Tension Glaucoma Angle-Closure Glaucoma Acute Glaucoma Pigmentary Glaucoma Exfoliation Syndrome Trauma-Related Glaucoma"
http://www.glaucomafoundation.org/education_content.php?i=8

How Much Do You Know About Your Glaucoma?:glaucomafoundation.org:"Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can cause damage to the optic nerve and threaten your vision. There are many forms and causes of glaucoma -- some known, some yet to be discovered -- and each person´s glaucomatous condition is unique. If you don´t already know the answers to the following questions, we urge you to ask your doctor the next time you visit his or her office. Knowing the answers to these questions, as well as any others you think of, will help you to be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your disease. Understanding your disease, and what it is about your eyes that makes you either a glaucoma suspect or a glaucoma patient, will empower you to be an active participant in the fight against blindness. We welcome you to call us on our toll-free hotline, 1-800-GLAUCOMA (1-800-452-8266) if you have any questions about the content of this feature or the general management of your glaucoma"
http://www.glaucomafoundation.org/news_story.php?i=19

http://www.preventblindness.org/news/releases/Glaucoma_0199.html:preventblindness.org:"Detection methods and treatments for glaucoma have improved significantly in recent years, Rabb observed: "Today we know that glaucoma may be detected by a visual field test as well as by examination of the optic nerve through a dilated pupil." Visual field tests use specialized equipment and techniques to test a person's peripheral vision, which is slowly lost in glaucoma. For optic nerve examinations, improvements in testing tools make detection of nerve damage more likely and measurement more precise, allowing for better and earlier treatment. Once glaucoma is diagnosed, treatment can begin. "Surgery is more successful now than in the past, and medication is easier to take. Many drugs have fewer side-effects and can be taken less frequently," Rabb said. Some groups are especially at risk for glaucoma: African-Americans age 35 and older; people with diabetes; anyone over age 50; those who are very nearsighted; those with a family history of the disease; and people who had eye surgery or an eye injury earlier in life"
http://www.preventblindness.org/news/releases/Glaucoma_0199.html

Eye Drops Delay Onset of Glaucoma in People at Higher Risk:National Institues of health:"Researchers have discovered that eye drops used to treat elevated pressure inside the eye can be effective in delaying the onset of glaucoma. These results mean that treating people at higher risk for developing glaucoma may delay — and possibly prevent — the disease. These findings are reported in the June 2002 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Scientists found that pressure-lowering eye drops reduced by more than 50 percent the development of primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma and one of the nation's leading causes of vision loss. Researchers noted that 4.4 percent of the study participants who received the eye drops developed glaucoma within five years. By comparison, 9.5 percent of the study participants who did not receive the eye drops developed glaucoma. Additionally, several significant risk factors were found to be associated with the development of glaucoma in study participants. These included personal risk factors, such as older age and African descent, as well as ocular risk factors, such as higher eye pressure, certain characteristics in the anatomy of the optic nerve, and thinness of the cornea"
http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jun2002/nei-13.htm

Complementary Therapy Assessment: Marijuana in the Treatment of Glaucoma:medem.com:"Marijuana is a mixture of the dried flowering leaves and tops from the plant cannabis sativa, and it contains over 400 chemicals. A medical use of marijuana has been to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Initial studies in the 1970s reported that smoked marijuana resulted in lower IOP hours after administration. The NEI-sponsored studies demonstrated that some derivatives of marijuana did result in lowering of IOP when administered orally, intravenously, or by smoking, but not when topically applied to the eye. The duration of the pressure-lowering effect is reported to be in the range of 3 to 4 hours. Benefits also include euphoria as an acute effect"
http://www.medem.com/medlb/article_detaillb.cfm?article_ID=ZZZ29ZMQTAC&sub_cat=115

What Causes Glaucoma?:allaboutvision.com:"An increased IOP reading indicates a problem with the amount of aqueous humor (fluid) in the eye: either the eye is producing too much, or it's not draining properly. The drainage area is the angle formed between the cornea and the iris, which is why you see the word "angle" in the different glaucoma names. In chronic glaucoma, the aqueous humor can't make it through meshwork in the eye to the drainage channel. Risk factors for this type of glaucoma include: Age. In a major study, less than 1% of people age 60 to 64 had chronic open-angle glaucoma. Among people 10 years older, the prevalence more than doubled to 1.3%, and among those 80 to 84, it more than doubled again to 3%. Certain medical disorders. Diabetes, extreme nearsightedness and previous eye surgery are risk factors for chronic open-angle glaucoma. Additionally, if you have a condition that requires the use of oral or inhaled steroids, particularly high doses for prolonged periods, that can increase your risk as well. Ethnic background. Chronic glaucoma is four times more common in African-Americans than in whites. It also develops earlier: African-American risk starts to increase after age 45, white risk at age 60. Among whites, groups at higher risk include people with Scandinavian, Irish and Russian backgrounds. Family history. Like so many diseases, glaucoma tends to run in families; different genes, however, are involved in different families."
http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/glaucoma.htm

Glaucoma fast facts:glaucoma.net:"Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Approximately 100,000 people are totally blind from glaucoma. Approximately 300,000 people are blind in one eye. Approximately 2,000,000 more have some degree of visual loss from glaucoma. Several million more people have elevated intraocular pressure. About 2% of the population age 40-50 and 8% over 70 have elevated intraocular pressure. Some 20 million people in the U.S are susceptible. Glaucoma affects people of all ages and all races. Most blindness from glaucoma is needless and could have been prevented if detected and treated in time. Most patients have no symptoms from glaucoma. Blindness from glaucoma usually begins with loss of peripheral vision. Central vision is usually maintained until the late stages. By the time the patient notices visual loss, damage is advanced. Factors which predispose to glaucoma include myopia, black race, and a family history of glaucoma. Thyroid disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure may be associated to some degree"
http://www.glaucoma.net/gany/faq/patindex.html

Visual Impairment and Glaucoma:American Foundation for the Blind:"When a person receives a diagnosis of glaucoma, it means a diagnosis of a life-long condition. However, early detection of glaucoma, appropriate and ongoing treatment, and the availability of specialized low vision and vision rehabilitation services if vision should become impaired, means that people who have glaucoma can live productive and satisfying lives. A pressure check for glaucoma should be a routine part of every eye examination at least by the age of 35. A visual field test can also detect glaucoma by indicating the loss of peripheral vision"
http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=35&TopicID=212&SubTopicID=41&DocumentID=705

A Parents Guide to Glaucoma in Babies and Children:International Glaucoma Association:"There are many forms of secondary glaucoma (glaucoma caused by another problem in the eye). To give some examples:- When a cataract (cloudy lens of the eye) is removed to give a baby sight, often some of the vitreous humour (a jelly like substance in the back part of the eye) has to be removed b the surgeon. This is because without the lens to keep it in the back of the eye, it may come forward and block the flow of fluid through the pupil or even directly block the drainage angle (see question 1). It may be difficult for the surgeon to prevent this at the first operation and this sticky jelly may cause secondary glaucoma. However, this is not the only cause of glaucoma in infants born with cataract. In some of them, the abnormality which caused them to be born with cataracts may also have caused the drainage angle of the eye to be formed abnormally. If part of the back of the eye, for example the retina is formed abnormally or damaged by the high oxygen levels necessary to keep some sick or premature infants alive, it may detach (come out of place) and push the lens of the eye forward and 'plug' the pupil so that fluid cannot flow and pressure builds up. Inflammatory conditions of the eye such as occurs in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis may also interfere with the fluid circulating with a resultant rise in eye pressure."
http://www.iga.org.uk/pat_s6.htm



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Last updated by Andrew Lopez, RN on Wednesday, September 29, 2010


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