Normal Tension Glaucoma is often called Low-Tension Glaucoma. Even though Normal Tension Glaucoma is rare, it can cause blindness if left untreated.
Normal Tension Glaucoma is also referred to as the “silent thief of sight.” This eye condition can happen even when the Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is normal.
In this article, we will look at everything related to Normal Tension Glaucoma, Causes, symptoms and treatment options available.
What is Normal Tension Glaucoma
Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG) is a type of Glaucoma that can damage your optic nerve and make it impossible to see.
In other types of Glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve is caused by high eye Pressure (High Intraocular Pressure).
But in Normal Tension Glaucoma, damage to the nerve happens even when IOP stays in the normal range (12–22 mm Hg).
Symptoms of Normal Tension Glaucoma
One of the hardest things about Normal Tension Glaucoma is that in its early stages, it shows zero symptoms.
As the illness gets worse, people might notice the following symptoms:
Peripheral vision: Most people with Normal Tension Glaucoma lose their peripheral vision over time. Patients often find that they can’t see well from the side eye, also called “tunnel vision.”
Difficulty with night vision: Having trouble seeing at night is another early symptom. Due to less contrast perception, patients may struggle to get used to driving at night or performing tasks under low light.
Frequent changes in glass prescription: Patients may need to have their eyeglass prescription changed often even though their vision doesn’t improve. This could be a sign of damage to the visual nerve.
Optic nerve damage: In its later stages, Normal Tension Glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve that can be noticed during a full eye test.
Rainbow halos: As per research findings, some individuals suffering from NTG might see rainbow-hued circles or halos surrounding light sources, especially during nighttime.
Wondering about the various symptoms of Glaucoma? Read our article: Understanding Glaucoma Symptoms: Signs of Silent Vision Loss
Causes of Normal Tension Glaucoma
It is yet to be discovered what causes Normal Tension Glaucoma.
But, some believe that problems with blood flow to the optic nerve, genetics, Vascular Dysregulation, etc., may be the major cause of NTG.
Let us take a look at each of these causes:
Blood flow irregularities: Some experts think that Normal Tension Glaucoma may be caused by poor blood flow to the optic nerve. Even if IOP is normal, damage to the visual nerve can happen when blood flow is cut off.
Optic nerve vulnerability: Some people may be more prone to having damaged optic nerves, even with an average IOP, due to genetic or structural issues. This weakness can worsen with other health conditions, like low blood pressure.
Vascular Dysregulation: Normal Tension Glaucoma has also been linked to Vascular Dysregulation, which means that blood vessels don’t work as they should. Problems with controlling blood flow in the vessels may make it even harder for blood to get to the visual nerve.
Want to know more about the various causes of Glaucoma? Read our article: glaucoma causes
Treatment for Normal Tension Glaucoma
There’s no need to worry if you are told you have Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG).
To effectively control the condition, you can choose from several treatments, such as eye drops and laser therapy.
The main goal of treating NTG is to lower the chance of optic nerve damage. Here are a few things you can do to protect your optic nerve health.
Eye drops: Glaucoma eye drops, such as Careprost, can effectively lower Intraocular Pressure. Careprost contains Bimatoprost as its main active ingredient, whose main function is to reduce the eye’s fluid production or enhance drainage.
Laser therapy: According to research, laser treatments like Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) can help the eyes drain better, which lowers the pressure inside the eyes.
Surgery: In situations where other treatments don’t work, surgery may be suggested to lower eye pressure. Surgical treatments can also create a new way for fluid to drain from the eye, lowering pressure.
Know more about the various treatment options available for Glaucoma, read our article: A Guide to Glaucoma Treatment Options
In conclusion, Normal Tension Glaucoma, often called the “silent thief of sight,” is a unique and less common form of Glaucoma.
Normal Tension Glaucoma can lead to total blindness despite having normal Intraocular Pressure.
Early detection and treatment of the eye disease is crucial since the symptoms of Normal Tension Glaucoma are not that noticeable.
While its exact causes remain unknown, factors such as blood flow irregularities, genes, and Vascular Dysregulation might be a factor.
Fortunately, there are treatments available for Normal Tension Glaucoma.
Some effective treatment options include eye drops, laser therapy, and surgery that help prevent any damage to the optic nerve.
Prioritizing eye health and regular check-ups is vital in managing Normal Tension Glaucoma.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Normal Tension Glaucoma and Open Angle Glaucoma?
The only difference between Normal Tension Glaucoma (NTG) and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is that NTG patients maintain normal Intraocular Pressures (IOP) consistently equal to or below 21 mmHg, whereas POAG patients have high IOP.
At what age does one experience Normal Tension Glaucoma?
Normal Tension Glaucoma is more common among the elderly and very rare in individuals under 50. According to clinical data, the average age of people with Normal Tension Glaucoma is 60.
Is Normal Tension Glaucoma curable?
Treatment for Normal Tension Glaucoma follows the same approach as that for Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG), which involves reducing Intraocular Pressure through medications, laser procedures, and surgeries.
Who is at risk of Normal Tension Glaucoma?
People suffering from migraine or disc hemorrhage are at a greater risk of having Normal Tension Glaucoma. Also, women and people with Asian lineage are at a greater risk of developing Normal Tension Glaucoma.
Can stress cause Normal Tension Glaucoma?
No, stress does not cause Normal Tension Glaucoma. Still, damage to your optic nerve due to high Intraocular Pressure is the major reason for Glaucoma.