Glaucoma is an eye disease that can result in permanent vision loss if
left untreated. Pressure in the eye builds up resulting in damage to the
optic nerve (the nerve that transmits images to the brain), ultimately
causing vision loss that is irreversible. Damage to the optic nerve can
be minimized if glaucoma is detected early and treated.
Types of Glaucoma:
Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type of glaucoma. In this
type, the trabecular meshwork of the eye (the system responsible for regulating
eye pressure) gradually becomes less efficient at draining fluid, causing
pressures to rise. Because the change in pressure happens slowly, the
damage to the optic nerve also happens slowly and can be difficult to
detect until after vision loss occurs.
Normal-tension Glaucoma: Sometimes, the pressure that is considered “normal”
for most people is actually high enough to cause damage to the optic nerve
in some people. In these cases, damage can occur to the optic nerve even
though pressures do not appear to be too high.
Closed-angle Glaucoma: In this type of glaucoma, the drainage angle in
the eye becomes completely blocked and eye pressure rises very quickly
resulting in a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Patients
tend to have symptoms of sudden severe eye pain and brow pain, nausea
Congenital Glaucoma: In very rare cases, babies are born with glaucoma
or develop it in infancy. The condition is hereditary and requires immediate
Secondary Glaucoma: It is possible for other factors to cause a rise in
eye pressure resulting in damage to the optic nerve, such as eye injuries
or long-term steroid therapy.
Risk Factors for Developing Glaucoma:
Some people are at a greater risk for developing glaucoma than others.
Some things that increase your risk include: age (people above 40 are
more likely to develop glaucoma), family history, elevated eye pressure,
past eye injury, conditions that affect blood flow such as migraines,
diabetes, and low blood pressure.
Regardless of whether or not you are considered to be at high risk for
developing glaucoma, it is always a good idea to have regular eye exams
performed that include screening for glaucoma because the key to minimizing
vision loss is early detection.
Key-Whitman Eye Center, leading in LASIK and Cataract surgery in Dallas, Fort Worth, and North
Texas treats glaucoma and would be happy to answer any questions that you have.
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