Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Sometimes called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually you don’t notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage. Glaucoma is an eye condition that develops when too much fluid pressure builds up inside of the eye. This increase in pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to have regular routine eye exams so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
Open-angle glaucoma: This is the most common type of glaucoma. The structures of the eye appear normal, but fluid in the eye does not flow properly through the drain of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork.
Angle-closure glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is less common, but can cause a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye. Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea (where a drainage channel for the eye is located) is too narrow. Or, the pupil opens too wide, narrowing the angle and blocking the flow of the fluid through that channel.
Please consult with an ophthalmologist regarding glaucoma treatment options. Your AVI ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose the type of glaucoma and the actual severity of the Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Treatment options will drastically vary from patient to patient.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Glaucoma can be very difficult to detect as the pressure build-up can be gradual, meaning regular eye exams are the best method of prevention. Often times, the disease is not recognized until there is a substantial change in vision.
For open-angle glaucoma, the first visual change will be a decrease to a person’s peripheral sight. For closed-angle glaucoma, the first symptoms are blurred vision, severe pain, nausea, and halos around lights. For congenital glaucoma, you will notice the infant has enlarged eyes, cloudy cornea, light
sensitivity, and excessive tearing.