One of the most important things to know about glaucoma is that it has little to no symptoms in its early stages. By the time you notice symptoms, vision impairment will be permanent.
If you continue losing vision because of glaucoma, you can’t get it back. For this and other reasons, glaucoma is a serious condition!
It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. and globally. Wondering if you may be at risk for developing glaucoma? Keep reading to learn more about the condition and how to detect it!
What is Glaucoma?
There are different kinds of glaucoma, but they have something in common. Every kind of glaucoma causes the optic nerve to become compromised.
The optic nerve carries information from the eye to the brain. The brain then takes this information and forms it into images. You can see why optic nerve damage is a bad thing!
Primary open-angle glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is usually caused by intraocular pressure and reduces peripheral vision. This increase in pressure is caused by the drainage angle of the eye.
The drainage angle is in the interior of the eye. When this becomes clogged, intraocular pressure starts rising. The primary open-angle is the most common form of glaucoma. It is what most people think of when it comes to the disease.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
Acute angle-closure glaucoma couldn’t be more different. Rather than happening slowly over time, it’s a sudden attack. Some of the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are:
- Eye pain
- Rapid vision loss.
This form of glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle is becomes shut off, causing a spike in eye pressure. Each time you experience one of these attacks, the vision loss gets worse.
You should see a doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms, as it is a medical emergency.
Normal-tension glaucoma is another form of glaucoma. Experts are unsure about what causes it but suspect it may poor blood flow to the optic nerve. There are no symptoms and once you begin to notice vision loss, the damage is permanent.
Pigmentary glaucoma occurs when iris pigment detaches and damages the drainage angle. If you have pigmentary glaucoma, it may express itself as primary open-angle glaucoma.
Congenital glaucoma is present at birth in children that have inherited it. It is rare and treatable.
Once symptoms of glaucoma are present, the effects are irreversible. There are a few things you can do that can help keep you from developing it.
Once glaucoma is detected, treating it involves lowering eye pressure. The first treatment for glaucoma is often eye drops. If these don’t lower intraocular pressure, there are pills as well.
These also aim to lower intraocular pressure, but without frustrating side effects. If you have a more advanced form of glaucoma, surgery may be the next step to lower intraocular pressure.
To keep pressure lowered, you will continue taking eye drops or other medications. Failing to take medication after surgery can result in increased intraocular pressure.
Have more questions about your risks of developing glaucoma? Schedule an exam with Arizona Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Glendale, AZ today!