Glaucoma​


Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. It is a vision-threatening disorder characterized by slow loss of optic nerve fibres. Unfortunately, the most common type of glaucoma has no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition has reached an advanced stage.

Susceptibility to this disease depends on a variety of factors including the level of pressure in the eye, a genetic tendency and older age. 

Glaucoma sometimes is caused by an abnormal build-up of a clear fluid called aqueous humour inside the eyeball. Normally drained away and replaced by the eye, the fluid is critical for bringing nutrients to the lens and cornea and removing waste material.

It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Vision loss due to glaucoma can't be recovered. If glaucoma is recognized at an early stage, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you'll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. Glaucoma tends to run in families. In some people, scientists have identified genes related to high eye pressure and optic nerve damage.​

Open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. The drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris remains open, but the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked. This causes pressure in the eye to gradually increase. This pressure damages the optic nerve. It happens so slowly that you may lose vision before you're even aware of a problem.

  • Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision

  • Tunnel vision in the advanced stages

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

When the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris, Angle-closure glaucoma, also called closed-angle glaucoma occurs.  As a result, fluid can't circulate through the eye and pressure increases. 

Angle-closure glaucoma may occur suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma) or gradually (chronic angle-closure glaucoma). Acute angle glaucoma is a medical emergency. It can be triggered due to the sudden dilation of your pupils.

  • Severe headache

  • Pain in the eye

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Blurry vision

  • Halos around lights

  • Redness of the eye

​Promptly rush to the 24/7 Emergency and Acute Care service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital or an ophthalmologist's office at the Eye and ENT services of The Aga Khan University Hospital if you experience some of the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, such as severe headache, eye pain and blurred vision.

The Eye and ENT service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital offers comprehensive glaucoma care and second opinion consultations for all forms of glaucoma. Our staff often provides evaluations of diagnosis or treatment options to patients when these are requested by the eye physicians or when patients desire our opinion themselves.

We, at The Aga Khan University Hospital care for infants and children, adults, and all forms of glaucoma, whether primary or related to complex eye problems. Medical treatment, laser therapies, and surgical procedures for glaucoma are available.

Our Eye and ENT service line specialists are studying new methods to improve glaucoma care, including stem cell research, gene therapy, preventive programs for glaucoma worldwide, improved diagnostic imaging, and methods to make glaucoma surgery safer. 

​Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital glaucoma staff specializes in the diagnosis and the medical and surgical management of primary, secondary and complicated glaucoma in patients of all ages. The goal of our doctors in the treatment of glaucoma is to prevent further vision loss by controlling pressure in the eye similar to controlling blood pressure to prevent a stroke. There are several ways in which glaucoma can be successfully treated. Various tests and diagnosis methods are carried out by our highly trained staff at the Eye and ENT service line of The Aga Khan University Hospital. Depending upon your condition and by the recommendation of your specialist, the tests may include:

  • Medications, in the form of eye drops or pills, lower pressure by reducing the amount of fluid produced in the eye, and by increasing drainage. One or more medicines may be used at the same time.

  • Laser therapy, performed on an outpatient basis, is used to reduce pressure in the eye. A procedure called laser trabeculoplasty improves fluid drainage in patients with open-angle glaucoma. People with closed-angle glaucoma usually must be treated with a procedure called laser iridotomy, which creates a tiny opening in the iris (coloured part of the eye), allowing the drainage angle to open.

  • Surgery may be needed to create a second drainage channel in the eye to supplement the natural one. Glaucoma surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anaesthesia, and may allow the patient to reduce or eliminate glaucoma medications.

  • For more advanced cases, an artificial glaucoma drainage implant may help to decrease pressure. The implant helps to drain excess fluid, which is then absorbed into the body.

Patients benefit from our state-of-the-art glaucoma testing capabilities and technology at the Eye and ENT service line at The Aga Khan University Hospital including automated visual field testing, retinal nerve fibre layer photography, stereoscopic disc photography and computerized optic disc analysis. Treatment options include the latest topical medications, glaucoma implants, laser therapy, glaucoma filtration surgery, cataract surgery and combined glaucoma/cataract surgery. Other services also include 

  • Eye drops. Glaucoma treatment often starts with prescription eye drops. These can help decrease eye pressure by improving how fluid drains from your eye or by decreasing the amount of fluid your eye makes.

  • Filtering surgery: With a surgical procedure called a trabeculectomy, the surgeon creates an opening in the white of the eye (sclera) and removes part of the trabecular meshwork.

  • Drainage tubes: In this procedure, your eye surgeon inserts a small tube in your eye.

​The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.