glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and can progress to blindness. Of the 2.5 million people in the U.S. with glaucoma, more than half of them don’t realize they have it because there are to often no warning symptoms. If you do not have regular routine eye exams to check the health of your eyes, glaucoma and other diseases can steal your vision. If the pressure inside the eye increases, it can damage the optic nerve and lead to the development of blind spots in our peripheral vision. Blind spots in the field of vision usually go undetected and the optic nerve is significantly damaged and great loss of peripheral or central vision has occurred.

Types of Glaucoma

There are many types of glaucoma which can impact your life in different ways.

image2   Primary open-Angle

This is the most common type of glaucoma in the U.S. The drainage mechanism is open but not fully functioning. The inability to drain fluid, causes pressure within the eye to rise which results in gradual, painless loss of peripheral vision.

image2   Acute open-Angle

This type of glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle is completely blocked, often by the iris. This blockage causes the pressure within the eye to suddenly rise. This extreme rise in pressure causes blurred vision, headaches, severe eye pain, as well as the appearance of halos around lights. It can be rapidly blinding and requires immediate treatment.

image2   Chonic open-Angle

This is more gradual closing of the drainage angle and is painless, but irreversible.

image2   Secondary

This type of glaucoma is cause by other mechanisms and has a variety of presentations. It can be caused by trauma, surgery, diabetes and other medical conditions.

image2   Congenital

This type of glaucoma is cause by other mechanisms and has a variety of presentations. It can be caused by trauma, surgery, diabetes and other medical conditions.

Treatment

Medical and surgical treatment can prevent further loss of vision, but it can’t restore vision that is already lost. It is important to have a good relationship with your doctor to help choose the best option.

Medications

Glaucoma is usually treated with daily eye drops that decrease eye pressure either by slowing the amount of fluid produced within the eye, or by improving the flow through the drainage angle. Medications can produce side effects such as long lashes, redness, stinging, and allergy.

Surgery

Through glaucoma surgery, a new pathway is created to release fluid from the eye. This can help prevent high pressure and further damage to the optic nerve. Surgery is sometimes the most effective way to lower pressure, but also includes risk of complication too.

For more information visit www.aao.org/eye-health