What is Glaucoma?

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What is Glaucoma? - First Eye Care North Arlington

Glaucoma is a Gradual Disease that Leads to Vision Loss

Virtually everyone on the entire planet needs their eyes. Having proper vision helps us throughout the day from reading and writing to driving a car. It is only natural, however, that as we grow older our vision like many other senses begins to wane. There are steps that can be taken to prevent total vision loss, but not everything can be stopped. Many individuals in their 40s and older are constantly plagued with a variety of potential illnesses and conditions. Glaucoma is one of these conditions that are extremely dangerous to those in their 60s. The more information you know about it will lead you to be better prepared to prevent total vision loss.

Cause

 Glaucoma is a condition that leads to the eye’s optic nerve being damaged, worsening over an extended period of time. The optic nerve’s health is crucial to having good vision. An increase in pressure in the eye is often the cause. This pressure, known as intraocular pressure, is due to a buildup of fluid, called aqueous humor. Typically, this fluid would flow out the eye through a channel, but when that channel becomes blocked, the liquid begins to build up. This buildup ends up damaging the nerve fibers of the optic nerve. Once these fibers have died, blind spots in your vision will begin to develop. These spots are always noticeable until the majority of fibers have died off. The cause of the blockage is still unknown, but the condition is known to be genetic and can be inherited.

Glaucoma can also be caused by other scenarios as well. If you were to suffer some form of injury to the eye whether from blunt trauma or a chemical injury, you may develop the disease. Blocked blood vessels have also been known to cause the condition. In very rare cases, corrective surgery for another eye condition may also lead to glaucoma.

Types

 With there being a few causes leading to glaucoma and every person being different themselves, there are two different kinds of glaucoma. These are:

  • Open-Angle: This is the most common form of glaucoma found in cases. This often takes much longer to develop as the channel in which the fluid in your eye does not drain as well as it should. Your eye may appear normal and feel no pain, but over time, with the fibers in your optic nerve dying, you will gradually lose your vision
  • Angle-Closure: This is a much more uncommon condition as opposed to open-angle. Occasionally referred to as closed-angle or narrow-angle glaucoma, much like the open-angle type, the eye does not drain correctly. However, the reasoning for this is because the drain space between the iris and the cornea has become too narrow for the fluid to pass through. The iris can even completely block the angle. This can lead to a swift increase in pressure.

Symptoms

Glaucoma is a gradual disease that often takes many years to make itself known. The most obvious first sign is the loss of your peripheral vision. It will seem as though you have tunnel vision. Unfortunately, the small level of vision loss many have does not get noticed until late into the disease. Here are more symptoms of glaucoma:

  • Seeing halos when in light
  • Rapid or sudden vision loss (most likely angle-closure glaucoma)
  • Redness/Irritation
  • Hazy looking eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Tunnel Vision

It is important to seek immediate care from an eye care specialist once you have noticed one or more of these symptoms.

Treatment

Once you have noticed the decline in your eye health and have sought out an eye care specialist, it is time to be treated. Every person is different and will respond differently to many forms of treatments. However, these are the typical forms of treatments many eye care specialists opt for:

  • Eye Drops: The intention of eye drops is to hopefully decrease the formation of fluid in the eye or to increase the speed at which it drains, lowering eye pressure. It can lead to redness, irritation, allergies, and sometimes blurred vision.
  • Laser Surgery: Laser surgery is used to help the fluid in the eye drain. Trabeculoplasty surgery uses the laser to improve the drainage angle while iridotomy uses the laser to create a new hole in the iris to drain more fluid.

While glaucoma is sometimes difficult to recognize due to how gradual the condition progresses, the best way to prevent vision is to regularly visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. This will allow your doctor to check on your eye health to recognize any problems before they develop any further. Contact First Eye Care North Arlington today to set up your next appointment.

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