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Eyes: Glaucoma

Article refereed by Drs Jeff Smith and Cameron Whittaker at the Animal Referral Hospital, Homebush, Sydney

This is a condition which occurs in both people and animals. It is a very serious problem which left untreated can lead to loss of vision. Glaucoma occurs when there is fluid build-up within the eyeball and the pressure inside the eye increases.

Normal eye processes

Eyes continuously make fluid (aqueous humor) to maintain their round shape- technically speaking, they are maintaining their Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP). “Old” fluid is filtered off through some tiny channels in the front (anterior) chamber of the eye, just below and in front of the iris.

Normal feline eyeGlaucoma

 






Primary causes

Secondary causes

In summary, trauma to the eye is one of the most common reasons for glaucoma followed by genetic predisposition in certain breeds.

Affected Breeds

Angle abnormalities

Inherited lens luxation

Age Incidence

Symptoms

Treatment

Glaucoma is a disease where the aim of treatment is to control rather than cure the problem.

Long term conservative treatment is often unsuccessful. Surgery by a specialist ophthalmic surgeon is the long term treatment of choice.
Acute glaucoma cases require emergency therapy if one is to save the eye.

If it is due to a secondary process, treatment is aimed at fixing that particular problem e.g. removal of a luxated lens.

Prognosis

Glaucoma has a guarded to poor prognosis, especially if untreated in its early stages.
In people, ophthalmologists perform yearly eyeball pressure tests to detect early symptoms and initiate therapy as soon as possible. Glaucoma is definitely a disease where early treatment is critical.