Overview of Glaucoma

Glaucoma affects the person's vision mainly caused by optic nerve damage, increases the intraocular pressure (IOP) or many other glaucoma reasons.

Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

Glaucoma (kala motiya / کالا موتیا) refers to the combination of multiple eye conditions that cause vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. The damage usually leads to the abnormal increase of pressure in the eyes.
Glaucoma is one of the common causes of blindness, typically over the age of 60 yrs. The effect of glaucoma can be possible at any age but mainly affects older adults.
Glaucoma is a fatal condition that’s why it is difficult to detect at early stages. Most people diagnose glaucoma at an advanced stage.

Prevalence of Glaucoma in Pakistan

In Pakistan, overall 2 million people were reported blind due to different eye conditions. From which 3.9 % or 0.08 million people suffered blindness from glaucoma.

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Types of Glaucoma

The signs and symptoms of glaucoma in eyes are based on the type and patient’s condition. The symptoms are majorly divided into its two main types which are as follows:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma Symptoms

  • Irregular tunnel vision in the advanced glaucoma
  • The appearance of patchy blind spots in the peripheral side or central vision, frequently in both eyes
  • Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

  • Severe headache
  • Eye pain or glaucoma pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness of eyes

Causes of Glaucoma

There are many types of glaucoma but the major one is open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma intraocular pressure (IOP) is a cause of these types. This includes:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form which comprises about at least 90% of all glaucoma cases. Open-angle defines the angle where iris meets the cornea and this point is as wide and open as it should be. This is also known as primary, chronic or wide-angle glaucoma.

The open-angle glaucoma is caused by:

  • The slow clogging of the drainage canals which increase the eye pressure
  • The area where iris connects with the cornea is wide and open.
  • It develops slowly and is a lifelong condition.
  • By damaging the area where cornea and iris connect. It is not noticeable.
  • Has no symptoms

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

It is the less common form of glaucoma. It affects the people when the angle between the iris and cornea is closed. This type is stimulated by the sudden blockage of aqueous humour fluid that eventually builds up in the area. In this way, the severe or quick rise of intraocular pressure (IOP).  The apparent symptoms are pain, blurred vision or nausea.
This type requires immediate medical care if it becomes severe. Also known as acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma.

  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma (NTG)

The optic nerves of the eye are damaged but the pressure is normal. This is also called low-tension or normal-pressure glaucoma. Researchers are still investigating the prime cause of glaucoma. Mainly, it is linked with other eye diseases.

  • Congenital Glaucoma

In this type, the babies are born with some defect in the angle of their eyes that slows the normal fluid drainage. Congenital glaucoma has some symptoms such as cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, or sensitivity to light. People can inherit from their families.

  • Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma correlates with the injury or another eye condition, such as cataracts or eye tumours. Also, medication such as corticosteroids may be one of the causes of glaucoma. Less commonly, eye surgery also results in secondary glaucoma. Overall, it is the effect of multiple conditions.

  • Other Types of Glaucoma

There are several other types of glaucoma that include:

  • Pigmentary Glaucoma
  • Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma
  • Traumatic Glaucoma
  • Neovascular Glaucoma
  • Uveitic Glaucoma

Risk Factors of Glaucoma

The cause of glaucoma is as aforementioned in its type. Majorly, glaucoma reasons rely on the types of glaucoma.

The glaucoma is usually caused by:

  • Damage to the optic nerve of eyes
  • Increase of IOP
  • Certain medications
  • Some underlying conditions such as cataract
  • People can get it inheritably



Several triggers stimulate the risk of glaucoma before any sign and symptoms become apparent.  The main risk factors include:

  • The high internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure)
  • People over age 60
  • Mostly prevalent in black, Asian or Hispanic people
  • People have a family history of glaucoma
  • Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anaemia
  • People having thin corneas in the centre
  • Most individuals feel extremely nearsighted or farsighted
  • Another risk is due to eye injury or certain types of eye surgery
  • Using of  corticosteroid medications, especially eye drops, for a prolonged time

Complications of Glaucoma if left Untreated

  • Gradual Loss of Vision
  • Foggy Vision
  • Loss of Side or Central Vision


These self-care strategies may detect glaucoma in its early stages. This helps to prevent vision loss or slow its progress.

  • Regular dilated eye examinations help to identify the cause of glaucoma.
  • Making a habit of regular moderate eye exercise of the eyes prevents glaucoma especially for people with weakened eye muscles.
  • Protect the eyes from the injury. For this, wear eye protection materials such as goggles, helmet etc.
  • Seek medical care if the individual is experiencing vision problems such as weak eyesight, blurred vision, glaucoma headache or any other conditions etc.

Treatment of Glaucoma | When to Consult a Doctor

Ophthalmologists will review the medical history and conduct a comprehensive eye examination. They may recommend following eye tests, which includes:

  • Tonometry Tests- This measures the intraocular pressure of glaucoma.
  • Pachymetry Test- Determine the thickness of the cornea in the eyes.
  • Perimetry Test- A doctor checks the areas of vision loss from different sides of the eye such as peripheral, or side, vision and central vision.
  • Monitoring the Optic Nerves- Helps to test the optic nerve damage with a dilated eye examination and imaging tests.
  • Gonioscopy- Determine the angle of drainage.

Doctors to treat Glaucoma

Last updated on Tuesday 25/10/2022


Dr. Mehvash Hussain

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Dr. Nabeel Iqbal

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Hameed Latif HospitalRs 3000


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Dr. Muhammad Hammad Ayub

Ophthalmologist | MBBS, FCPS

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