For many reasons, glaucoma is one of the most frightening eye conditions out there. First of all, it causes permanent vision loss.
The most common form of glaucoma has few symptoms until vision loss has already occurred. With all the bad news surrounding glaucoma, it can be difficult to have hope, but there is good news.
While the effects of glaucoma are not reversible, they are stoppable. If glaucoma is caught early, you can reduce vision loss with daily medication.
Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and if you could be at risk for developing it!
There are many things that put you at risk for developing glaucoma. Having one, or even some of the following factors does not mean you will develop glaucoma. But if you fall into some of these factors, you should keep an eye out.
- Age. Patients over the age of 40 experience much higher rates of glaucoma than younger age groups.
- Family history. Glaucoma seems to have at least some genetic components.
- Eye pressure. The most common form of glaucoma damages the eyes by causing eye pressure to spike. Your eye pressure is taken with a quick test during an eye exam.
- Extreme farsightedness or nearsightedness. This is only a factor if the prescription is severe.
- Race/Heritage. People of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent are more affected by glaucoma.
- Previous eye injuries.
- Certain medications like steroids.
- Other health problems throughout the body. Examples include high blood pressure, diabetes, and migraines.
Types of Glaucoma
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. But there are other types of glaucoma that break the normal pattern.
Three distinct types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, and normal-tension glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. This is the form of glaucoma that slowly progresses because of high eye pressure.
It is “open-angle” because of how eye pressure builds up. It’s not because of drainage canals becoming pinched off. Instead, it’s because the canals are blocked up. This stops the interior eye fluid from draining as fast as it should.
Angle-closure glaucoma happens when the angle between the iris and the cornea is closed. This completely blocks off the drainage system.
This causes a sharp spike in interior eye pressure. The spike in interior eye pressure results in extreme symptoms like pain and vision loss.
If you notice these symptoms, get to the emergency room! This is a medical emergency if it’s not taken care of.
Normal tension glaucoma follows the pattern of open-angle glaucoma, without higher eye pressure. This makes it even more difficult to detect.
This may be the result of the patient having weaker optic nerves, which glaucoma damages.
What Do I Do If I Have Glaucoma?
If glaucoma is caught and diagnosed early, there are treatment options available. The most common are eye drops to help stabilize your intraocular pressure.
If eye drops are not helping, there are surgical options available as well. Talk to your eye doctor if you aren’t seeing any improvement in your eye pressure levels with eye drops. They can recommend next steps.
Want to stay ahead of any chance of developing glaucoma? Schedule an eye exam at Eye Physicians & Surgeons of Arizona in Glendale, AZ today!