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Aging-Related Diseases Eye - Glaucoma

genetic clinical optic pressure treatment nerve

Glaucoma is a chronic disorder that when left untreated, will lead to blindness in most cases. The clinical picture usually, but not always, includes elevated intraocular pressure that leads to damage of the optic nerve (optic neuropathy). There are several types of glaucoma: acute and chronic, open- and closed-angle, and secondary. In all cases, treatment is directed toward reducing the intraocular pressure with eye drops, laser, and/or surgery, depending upon the severity of the case and the response to the medical therapy.

Chronic open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, usually comes about insidiously and progresses chronically. Since it is peripheral visual field loss that first occurs, damage can be extensive before the person affected becomes aware of important visual loss.

Theories about the nature and causes of glaucoma are being reevaluated. Early views of open-angle glaucoma as a simple matter of a problem in aqueous outflow have given way to the concept of a more complex neurodegenerative disorder of the optic nerve. New modalities of treatment are being evaluated, including medications that may protect the optic nerve, but the current treatment remains aimed at lowering pressure inside the eyeball. However, it has become clear that a number of other factors play important roles in determining whether a specific level of intraocular pressure will be harmful to a given eye. As these additional factors are identified, new modalities of treatment will arise to address their influence whether these be genetic, vascular, or neuronal.

Aging-Related Diseases Eye - Age-related Macular Degeneration [next]

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