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

treatment is.

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.

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