What is Neovascular Glaucoma: Everything to Know About It
Neovascular glaucoma is a serious eye condition that results from abnormal blood vessel growth in the iris, the colored part of the eye. It is characterized by increased intraocular pressure, which can lead to vision loss if left untreated. Unlike other types of glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma typically develops as a secondary condition due to an underlying problem, such as diabetes, retinal vein occlusion, or ocular ischemic syndrome.
Is it Serious?
Yes, neovascular glaucoma is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. It is considered a more aggressive form of glaucoma and often results in rapid vision loss if not treated effectively. The abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye can obstruct the normal drainage pathway, leading to a buildup of fluid and increased pressure. This can damage the optic nerve and cause permanent damage to your eyesight. Early detection and timely treatment are crucial in managing neovascular glaucoma and preserving vision.
The primary cause of neovascular glaucoma is an underlying condition that triggers the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Common underlying causes include:
- Diabetes: Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, leading to neovascularization.
- Retinal Vein Occlusion: A blockage in the veins that carry blood away from the retina can cause backup and subsequent neovascularization.
- Ocular Ischemic Syndrome: This condition results from severe blockage or narrowing of the carotid arteries, leading to reduced blood supply to the eye.
Neovascular glaucoma presents with various symptoms, including:
- Severe eye pain
- Blurred or decreased vision
- Redness in the affected eye
- Halos around lights
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention to determine the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment.
To diagnose neovascular glaucoma, an eye doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye examination, including:
- Measurement of intraocular pressure using tonometry
- Assessment of the angle of the eye’s drainage system through gonioscopy
- Examination of the retina and optic nerve
- Visual field testing to assess peripheral vision
In some cases, additional imaging tests, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) or fluorescein angiography, may be performed to assess the extent of blood vessel growth and its impact on the eye structures.
The goal of treating neovascular glaucoma is to reduce intraocular pressure and control the underlying cause of abnormal blood vessel growth. Treatment options may include:
- Anti-glaucoma medications to lower intraocular pressure
- Laser therapy to eliminate abnormal blood vessels and promote proper drainage
- Intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs to block the growth of new blood vessels
- Surgery, such as trabeculectomy or tube shunt implantation, to improve outflow of fluid and reduce pressure
The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition, the individual’s overall health, and the underlying cause.
Neovascular glaucoma is a serious eye condition caused by abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye and can lead to vision loss if left untreated. It is typically secondary to underlying conditions such as diabetes, retinal vein occlusion, or ocular ischemic syndrome. Prompt and appropriate treatment is essential in managing neovascular glaucoma and preserving vision. If you experience symptoms such as eye pain, decreased vision, or redness, it is important to seek immediate medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis and begin treatment effectively.