What is Aqueous Humor?
Aqueous humor is the fluid that fills up the front of the eye. It is a clear fluid that keeps the eye nourished and inflated. Aqueous humor is made up almost entirely of water, but also contains nutrients such as vitamins and proteins. Aqueous fluid is located between the crystalline lens and cornea of the eye. The structure which produces the aqueous humor is known as the ciliary body. A high amount of aqueous humor can cause high pressure inside of the eye and lead to glaucoma, an eye disease. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops or surgeries to lower the eye pressure. Eye drops such as timolol and dorzolamide treat glaucoma by lowering the amount of Aqueous humor fluid in the eye.
- Aqueous humor is a clear fluid that functions to keep the eye nourished and inflated.
- Too much aqueous humor can increase the eye’s pressure and lead to glaucoma, an eye disease.
- Eye drops can be used to lower the amount of aqueous fluid in the eye and treat glaucoma.
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Understanding Aqueous Humor
Aqueous humor is the clear fluid that fills the front of the eye. The aqueous humor provides nutrition to the structures inside of the eye. As its name suggests, the aqueous humor is made up of 99% water. It also has vitamins, sugars, and nutrients. The fluid is located in the anterior chamber of the eye, between the lens and the cornea. Another type of humor in the eye is vitreous humor. The vitreous humor is located within the back of the eye and is less watery. Aqueous humor is important to eye health and function, but too much of it can cause an eye disease known as glaucoma.
Function of Aqueous Humor
The structures within the front of the eye are dependent on the aqueous humor to stay healthy. Functions of the aqueous humor include:
- Provide structural support and keep the eye inflated
- Provide nutrients and oxygen to the cornea and lens
- Remove waste products such as blood from the cornea and lens
- Maintain a normal eye pressure
Anatomy of Aqueous Humor
The aqueous humor is located in the front of the eye, within a compartment known as the anterior chamber. The fluid is mostly water but its pH is slightly alkaline or basic. It circulates between the clear cornea and the crystalline lens. Aqueous humor is produced by the cells of the ciliary body. It primarily drains outside of the eye through the trabecular meshwork and then into Schlemm’s canal. If these drainage structures are blocked, the aqueous humor can build up to unhealthy amounts.
Aqueous Fluid and Glaucoma
The aqueous humor usually flows outside of the eye through a porous mesh-like channel known as the trabecular meshwork. If this channel is blocked, the aqueous humor can’t drain out of the eye, and the eye pressure becomes high. A high eye pressure is considered 22 and above. If the eye pressure remains elevated for a long time and over many years, it can lead to a condition known as glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that is usually associated with high intraocular pressure, also known as eye pressure. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. It is a slow-acting disease that causes damage to the eye over many years. It can eventually lead to loss of peripheral vision and a “tunnel vision” effect. It may also make the vision blurry. Damage to the eyes from glaucoma is irreversible, and the damaged optic nerve tissue cannot be recovered. However, eye drops and eye surgery can prevent further glaucoma damage. The main way to prevent glaucoma is by lowering the eye pressure.
Certain types of eye drops can lower the amount of aqueous fluid produced by the eye. This effectively lowers the eye pressure. Examples of drops that decrease aqueous fluid production include timolol, dorzolamide, and brinzolamide. An eye exam should be done every year to check for glaucoma, among other eye diseases.