What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is when damage occurs to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. Most often fluid builds up in the front of the eye, causing pressure that damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years old. Damage from glaucoma can be prevented if treated early.
What are some types of the glaucoma?
There are two main types of glaucoma:
1. Primary open angle glaucoma
This is the most common type of glaucoma. The drain of the eye does not work effectively, and fluid builds up in the eye. This causes pressure on the optic nerve and damage to the nerve. Often the pressure builds gradually and people do not symptoms, until there is significant loss of peripheral vision.
In some people, the optic nerve is sensitive to a normal pressure and glaucoma develops even when the pressure is normal. In these cases other tests can be performed to determine if there is optic nerve damage. Routine exams are necessary to diagnose and prevent glaucoma.
2. Angle-closure glaucoma
This occurs when the iris is close to the drainage angle of the eye. When the iris suddenly closes off the drain, the pressure in eye increases rapidly and an “angle closure attack” occurs. This is an eye emergency as sudden and permanent vision loss can occur.
These are signs of an angle closure attack:
Some people can develop chronic angle closure, in which the angle gradually closes of. As this happens slowly, they may not have symptoms until there is significant damage.
What are risk factors of glaucoma?
Risk factors for glaucoma include intraocular pressure (IOP), older age, race, higher prescription, thinner cornea, and family history.
What are symptoms of glaucoma?
Frequently people do not have symptoms from glaucoma, especially if it develops gradually. When the disease becomes advanced, symptoms include loss of peripheral vision, blurry vision, difficulty seeing from one eye.
What is the management for glaucoma?
Damage from glaucoma is reversible so it is important to prevent damage before it occurs. Management for glaucoma is targeting at reducing the pressure in the eye with medication eye drops, laser treatments and glaucoma surgery.