The type of glaucoma you have will impact the type of treatment you need, how fast it progresses, and your chance of retaining or losing your eyesight. All types of glaucoma cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve.
Open Angle Glaucoma
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open angle glaucoma.
In open angle glaucoma the drainage canals of the eye are clogged deep inside preventing fluid from flowing out of the eye and causing pressure to build. The entrances to the canals are clear.
Vision loss is gradual with open angle glaucoma. It is treated with medication, and responds best when caught early.
Angle Closure Glaucoma
Angle closure glaucoma occurs when the iris of the eye blocks the drainage canals. It can progress gradually or very suddenly.
When it progresses suddenly it is sometimes referred to as acute or narrow angle glaucoma. The pressure builds very quickly and it is a medial emergency. Symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Rainbows around lights at night
- Eye pain
Angle closure glaucoma is treated with surgery. The outer edge of the iris is removed allowing the fluid to flow out of the eye and returning pressure to normal. The results of treatment are long term or permanent.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
In some cases the optic nerve is damaged even though pressure inside the eye is within normal range. Damage can be prevented or slowed down by keeping the pressure low. People with cardiovascular disease and those of Japanese descent have the highest risk for developing this form of glaucoma. Normal tension glaucoma is treated with surgery or medication.
When the drainage system of the eye does not develop properly before birth, babies are born with glaucoma. Congenital glaucoma is managed with medication or surgery and, if caught early can be corrected.
Secondary glaucoma is caused by injury, disease, other eye problems or medications. It can be open or closed angle. There are many types of secondary glaucoma including:
- Irido Corneal Endothelial Syndrome (ICE)
- Steroid induced
- Lens induced
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of glaucoma, have a family history of the condition, or have not had an eye exam which tests intraocular pressure recently, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist today.
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