Types of Glaucoma and Risk Factors

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 7-Jul-2011

Glaucoma2Glaucoma 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 and vomiting.

Congenital Glaucoma: In very rare cases, babies are born with glaucoma or develop it in infancy. The condition is hereditary and requires immediate treatment.

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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Categories: Eye Conditions, Glaucoma
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