Glaucoma refers to a complex condition of the eye that results from damage to the optic nerve. This damage is often caused by abnormally high pressure in your eye. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60.
There are several different types of glaucoma including:
- Open-Angle Glaucoma refers to the angle between the iris and the cornea and is the most common form of glaucoma. In Open-Angle Glaucoma the angle is as wide as it should be, but the drainage canals of the eye become blocked over time. This causes the fluid of the eye to circulate improperly and build pressure. As pressure increases, the optic nerve is damaged, leading to vision loss.
- Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma is one of the only types of Glaucoma that produce distinct symptoms including pain, light sensitivity, redness, blurred vision, colored haloes around lights, and nausea or vomiting. Angle-Closure Glaucoma occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. As a result, fluid can't circulate through the eye, and pressure increases.
- Secondary glaucoma is glaucoma caused by any existing condition such as an infection, cancer, or eye injury that raises internal eye pressure enough to damage the optic nerve.
- Pediatric glaucoma occurs when a child is born with elevated eye pressure due to genetics
What are the risk factors relating to Glaucoma?
It is important to understand the various factors that can predispose you to develop Glaucoma. The following is a comprehensive but not totally exhaustive list, of Glaucoma risk factors
- Elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
- Being over the age of 60 (Above the age of 40 for people of African Decent)
- Race- People of African and Latino descent are far more likely to develop Glaucoma than people of other races
- Having a high degree of nearsightedness
- Having high blood pressure
- Having Diabetes
- If you have a Family History of Glaucoma
Although not curable, Glaucoma is an often treatable condition. Early detection is key in effectively controlling vision loss associated with glaucoma.
Some of the most common treatment options for glaucoma include:
Eye drops – Many cases of glaucoma can be successfully treated with the use of eye drops specifically designed to lower intraocular pressure, especially for patients suffering from open-angle glaucoma.
Laser treatments - For glaucoma that cannot be controlled with eye drops alone or for patients who experience unpleasant side effects, laser treatment is a safe and effective alternative for preventing glaucoma-related vision loss.
Surgical procedures – In some cases, neither eye drops nor laser treatments will provide adequate treatment, and surgery may be required.
During your comprehensive evaluation, our experienced eye care professionals can help you determine which method of glaucoma treatment is right for you.