Glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve of the eye, is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., especially in the older population. This is largely due to the fact that most individuals with glaucoma experience no noticeable symptoms. However, loss of sight from glaucoma can be prevented if detected early enough and treated appropriately.
There are two different types of glaucoma. The first, Chronic Open-Angle Glaucoma, is the most common type and is a result of aging. This type of glaucoma is caused when the angle, the part of the eye where intraocular fluid gradually drains out into the blood stream, is open yet the pressure in the eye is elevated and causing nerve damage.
Only a small percentage of people ever develop the second type, Angle-Closure Glaucoma. This type occurs when the drainage angle of the eye becomes completely blocked, sometimes causing intraocular pressure to build up rapidly, developing into Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma. Symptoms of this disease include blurred vision, severe eye pain, headache, rainbow haloes around lights, nausea and vomiting. Although rare, Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma is serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact us immediately as failure to receive treatment may result in blindness.
Treatment for glaucoma typically includes medicated eye drops that help to decrease eye pressure by either slowing production of aqueous fluid in the eye or improving the flow of aqueous fluid as it leaves the drainage angle. It might also include laser surgery to enlarge the drainage angle and thus lower eye pressure, or create a hole in the iris to improve flow of aqueous fluid.
Concerned about glaucoma? Request an appointment for screening as part of a routine eye exam.