Glaucoma is a condition in the eye where the optic nerve is damaged from fluid build-up. The fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, gradually damaging the optic nerve by the pressure caused by the fluids on the eye. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, next to Cataract. If left untreated it can lead to permanent and irreversible loss of vision.
Causes and Risk Factors
Glaucoma can affect people of all gender and races, but the risk increases as you age. Some of the risk factors include:
- Family history
- Eye injury or condition
- Previous eye surgery
- Severe myopia or nearsightedness
- High blood pressure
People with diabetes have a higher risk of getting glaucoma. Ethnicity also plays a part in getting glaucoma. African Americans and Latinos are most likely to get glaucoma than other races, whereas Asians are more susceptible to a certain type of glaucoma known as angle-closure glaucoma and Japanese have a higher risk of developing low-tension glaucoma.
The most common type of glaucoma is the primary open-angle glaucoma, and this type has almost no signs or symptoms except the gradual loss of vision. For that, it is recommended that you go for a yearly/routine check-up for your eye’s health.
You should immediately see your eye doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Severe eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Redness in the eye
- Seeing colored rings around the light
- Sudden vision disturbances, and
- Sudden blurred vision
Types of Glaucoma
There are five (5) major types of glaucoma.
- Open-Angle (Chronic) Glaucoma – this type has no signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss. The loss is so slow that your vision may suffer irreversible damage before any other sign is detected
- Angle-Closure (Acute) Glaucoma – This type is an emergency situation. The flow of your aqueous fluid is blocked, and a rapid buildup of fluid will cause severe and painful pressure in your eyes.
- Congenital Glaucoma – children born with congenital glaucoma have defects in the angle of their eye which slows or prevents fluid drainage. This type usually presents symptoms such as cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, and sensitivity to light.
- Secondary Glaucoma – is often a side effect of a previous eye injury or condition, like cataracts or eye tumors
- Normal-Tension Glaucoma – this type may be the cause of a lack of blood flow to the optic nerve
Diagnosis and Treatment
To safely diagnose glaucoma, you need to consult your ophthalmologist. They may want to perform a detailed and comprehensive eye exam. There are various eye tests and procedures that may determine the seriousness of your glaucoma. Some of the procedures are the following:
- Tonometry Test – measures your eye’s internal pressure
- Pachymetry Test – measures the thickness of your cornea
- Perimetry Test – also known as a visual field test, this test can tell your doctor if your glaucoma is affecting your vision by measuring your peripheral, side, and central vision
- Monitoring of Optic Nerve – your doctor will take photographs of your optic nerve and conduct a side-by-side comparison over time
Your doctor may also check your detailed medical history to analyze your symptoms. They may also conduct a general health assessment to rule out any other health condition that may affect your eye’s health.
There are different treatment plans for every type of glaucoma. The best way to catch any type of glaucoma is to have your yearly or routine eye appointments. Find time to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. The simple procedures may detect early signs of glaucoma before it advances leading to vision loss.
Book an appointment with Doral Health and Wellness and consult with our ophthalmology staff. Visit us or call us at 347-868-1060.