Glaucoma Essay, Research Paper
In the next several pages will be explained the
cures, medication, and procedure of detecting glaucoma.
The reasons this was wrote on glaucoma, was because I have
always wondered why these few people that have glaucoma get
to use a illegal drug(marijuana). I also was curious on what
glaucoma exactly is and when it could effect me, or any of
my family members.
Glaucoma is a disease that effects your vision or optic
nerves. Most people do not know that they have it until its
to late to properly treat it. Glaucoma does not usually
effect young children. It doesn’t even usually effect the
ages twelve through twenty. Around the age of twenty one is
when you should go and get your first check up. Many people
do not get yearly check ups and that’s how it gets out of
control. Glaucoma effects only 2% of the population. If
people over the age of 21 would go and get themselves
checked then most people would not have to deal with
the major effect which is blindness. Yet many people fail to
understand the importance of getting checked. You can get
checked by any optimist, all you have to do is call them and
set up an appointment.
What is glaucoma, you might be asking your self. Well as
you know glaucoma is a disease that effects your optic
nerves, or in other words your vision. The eye is a round
looking figure filled with fluid. When the fluid in the eye
increases, so does the pressure. The body’s normal approach
to increase of pressure is a small opening in the anterior
chamber, in the bottom. When glaucoma forms, the opening in
the angle will not open so the pressure will just build up.
There is also another way this happens and that is if to
much fluid is being moved into the eye and it can not get it
out fast enough. Its sort of in a way like pumping up a tire
and over inflating it. Glaucoma can develop anywhere in
between a day and years. There are no symptoms in the
beginning of glaucoma, but as it continues to get worst, so
do your chances of losing your vision.
There are two common types of glaucoma. One type is
called open angle glaucoma. Open angle or chronic open angle
happens when gradual pressure builds up in the eye. Damage occurs to the optic
nerve. The patient is usually unaware of the changes. Over 90% of everyone that has glaucoma has this
type of glaucoma.
Another type of glaucoma is closed angle glaucoma. This
type builds up pressure in the eye rapidly. Another name for
this is acute angle glaucoma. This type usually happens with
people that have a narrow anterior chamber angles. The fluid
in the eye cannot escape and pushes the iris forward. When
this happens to people they experience blurred vision, halos
around lights, nausea, and vomiting. If the pressure is not
relieved soon the patient, blindness will result in
Glaucoma is caused by a few different things. The
front portion of the eye is filled with fluid called aqueous
humor. The fluid in the eye is always circulating in and out
of the eye. When glaucoma develops it clogs the fluid and
pressure builds up. After a period of time this pressure can
damage the optic nerves in the eye.
Glaucoma can be detected and prevented a few different
ways. Careful measurement of the eye pressure on a regular
basis. The pressure is measured by an instrument called
a torometer. The back of the eye is observed through a
ophtholmoscope, to make sure the nerve is healthy. The drainage angle is also inspected by a special type of
contact lens. The patient’s side vision may also be tested.
People over the age of 20should be tested frequently. The main problem with glaucoma
is that there is no side effects in the early stages, unless
you measure your eye pressure frequently.
There are certain types of people that should
watch for glaucoma and they are stated next. If you
are 45 years old and have not been checked. If someone in
your family has or had glaucoma. If you have high
intraocular pressure. If you or a family member has
diabetes. If you have high blood pressure. If you have
nearsightedness. If you use steroids regularly or for a long
term of time or you have had a previous eye injury.
There are several ways to treat glaucoma. The damage
That is done by glaucoma cannot be reversed. The goal is to
reduce the pressure, so the healthy nerves can receive
nourishment. When people receive treatment most people stop
taking their medicine because of side effects. Some of the
side effects maybe stinging in the eye, blurred vision, and
headaches. This is the reason why most people want surgery.
Eye drops can be a type of treatment. You must take them regularly and continuously.One
type of eye drop is called Latanoprost. You only have to use
this once a day. This is a new drug and even though it is a
good drug, no drug has no side effects. This new
drug has a weird side effect. It turns your eye blue in
color. Dr. Alan Jordan says “Were it not for this side
effect, Latanprost would seem to be the ideal glaucoma
medication.” This new drug seems to work the better than the
last eye drop and has less side effects. The eye coloring
only has effected 30 people out of 200. The way that it
changes the color is a increase of melanin. Which is a
natural pigment that imparts color.
Another method of treatment is laser surgery. This is
usually a option if the eye drops aren’t working. A laser is
used to enlarge the drain, but in angle closure, the laser
creates a hole in the iris.
Yet there is another option, operative surgery. This
creates a new drainage channel through which the aqueous
fluid can leave the eye. Technology has greatly improved for
medication and surgery. Very few people need surgery.
Earlier that glaucoma is diagnosed, the more effective
Lately there is a new drug out that curbs the action of
NOS-2. This helps slow down the loss of retinal ganglion
cells. Ganglion cells are the nerve cells to your sight.
This new drug is trying to lower pressure and prevent the
damage to the nerve cells. All other drugs don’t stop the
lost of vision and this new drug may do just do that.
Researchers are hoping that this new drug will help the
people who the other drugs don’t work on.
In some states there is yet another treatment. Some
people in the world believe this is wrong, but it is the
usage of marijuana. Marijuana has a active chemical that
lowers the pressure in the eye.(Wallace L.M Alward) Smoking
marijuana causes a fall in pressure in 65% of users.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology(1992)stated: “There is
evidence that marijuana(or its components), taken orally or
by inhalation can lower intraocular pressure. However, there
are no conclusive studies to date to indicate that marijuana
(or its components) can safely and effectively lower
intraocular pressure enough to prevent optic nerve damage…
The dose of marijuana necessary to produce a clinically
relevant effect in the short term appears to produce an
unacceptable level of undesirable side effects such as
euphoria, systemic hypotension, and/or dry eye and
conjunctival hyperemia in the majority of glaucoma patients
in whom the drug has been carefully studied. No data have
been published on studies of long-term ocular and systemic
effects of the use of marijuana by glaucoma patients.”
Studies show that marijuana use doesn’t make any advantages
over any other treatments. The first people that determined
marijuana lowered pressure was Hepler and Frank. Hepler and
Petrus did more experimenting and came up with that THC
lowers the IOP, a lot more than normal treatments. One
patient had a reduction from 40mmhg to 10mmhg in one eye and
35mmhg to 15mmhg in the other eye. What needs to be
determined is if eating or smoking marijuana lowers pressure
the most. It also needs to be determined if there is a safer
way, such as a inhaler. Before using this treatment you
should consider other treatments and relate your blood
pressure and IOP measuring because tolerance is a
development. After reviewing this paper a decision was made,
if I ever developed glaucoma I would use eye drops as a
treatment, for a few reasons. One is because it is the
safest of all treatments and second it is the simplest.
My next option would be to smoke or eat marijuana because it
is known that it is a effective way to treat glaucoma.