Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, the nerve between the eye and the brain, is damaged due to high pressure. Depending on the type of glaucoma, this pressure can happen for a number of reasons and leads to ocular hypertension, which can cause irreversible vision loss.
There are several different kinds of glaucoma, but four of the most common include:
Open-angle glaucoma: The most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, is a gradual increase in eye pressure due to poor drainage and fluid build-up.
Closed-angle glaucoma: Less common, this type of glaucoma happens more suddenly, resulting in a quick rise in eye pressure. This type is considered an emergency.
Secondary glaucoma: Secondary glaucoma can be either open or closed-angle but is due to a known cause, like an eye injury, disease, or medication like corticosteroids.
Congenital glaucoma: This type typically presents itself in infants and is there at birth.
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of glaucoma. Unfortunately, for open-angle glaucoma, there aren’t alarming symptoms. This glaucoma typically progresses slowly, and by the time the patient notices vision loss, the damage may be severe.
Closed-angle glaucoma can cause severe or sudden pain in one eye, cloudy vision, nausea or vomiting, and halo-like vision when looking at lights. Because secondary glaucoma is caused by an underlying condition, the symptoms are usually related to the corresponding issue. For congenital glaucoma, babies may experience sensitivity to light, enlarged eyes, and cloudiness on the front of the eye.
Anyone is susceptible to developing glaucoma, but those over the age of 60, have a family history of glaucoma, or have diabetes are at higher risk.
If left untreated, glaucoma can cause complete vision loss. If you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, you will most likely be prescribed eye drops, oral medication, surgery, or a combination of these. Whichever method your doctor prescribes, the goal is to reduce the pressure being placed on the optic nerve. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, and once vision is lost, it is usually irreversible. Early detection through annual eye examinations is key to preserving your precious vision.
While there are no surefire ways to prevent glaucoma, you can prevent the devastating effects of this disease. Again, the best way to ensure early detection and successful treatment is through a comprehensive annual eye examination. Because there are often no symptoms for the most common types of glaucoma, it’s important to have your eyes checked regularly for any abnormal pressure.
At Kopolow & Girisgen, Doctors of Optometry, our caring doctors are well-versed in glaucoma detection and management. Our skilled team utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic methods to diagnose glaucoma in its earliest stages. These include tonometry, a technique for measuring intraocular pressure, and direct examination of the optic nerves as part of a retinal exam under pupillary dilation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late—schedule your annual eye exam now below or by texting GLASSES to 21000.