Glaucomas include an ensemble of diseases characterized by a degeneration or a loss of vision, secondary to an increase of intra-ocular pressure (therefore causing damages to the retina and the optive nerve).
We divide glaucomas into three categories.
• congenital glaucoma; in these cases there is an anomaly in the anterior chamber of the eye, which results in intra-ocular pressure soon after birth.
• primary glaucoma; anomaly at the iridocorneal angle, which affects drainage of the aqueous humor. Affects dogs especially, in which there is genetic predisposition. Rarely affects cats.
• Secondary glaucoma; secondary to another existing ocular disease, such as a cataracts, anterior uveitis, lens luxation, an intraocular tumor, etc.
• Red eye or a veiled eye
• Various eye pain (does not accept having his head manipulated, blepharospasm)
• Reduced vision, or blindness (the tapetal reflex is more obvious because of dilated pupils)
• Increase in volume of the ocular globe.
A glaucoma must be differentiated from other causes of red eye (conjunctivitis, anterior uvetis, scleritis/episcleritis, etc). A complete eye exam, including intraocular pressure (tonometry) generally permits us to confirm cases of glaucoma. An ophthalmologist veterinarian with the help of a complementary examination will determine the origin of a glaucoma and the damage to the posterior segment of the eye (including the retina and the optive nerve). Ultrasounds may be necessary in certain cases.
Treatment may be medical or surgical. The goal of treatment is to reduce intraocular pressure (so that vision is maintained and eliminate pain). In primary cases of glaucoma, we will also treat the non-affected eye to delay the onset of glaucoma. Generally, the second eye will become affected 6 months after the first eye without treatment, and 30 months later with treatment.
It is important to understand that glaucoma will inevitably lead to blindness. Therefore, treatment must be fast and aggressive if we want to preserve vision. Hospitalisation and emergency treatment may be necessary depending of the case.