Glaucoma eye disease is a condition including several different eye disorders. It is associated with a dangerous increase of intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eye) that, over time, damages the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma leads to severe vision impairment and irreversible blindness.
There are two main types of glaucoma and several other variations of the disease. The two main types of glaucoma are:
• Open-angle glaucoma (or chronic glaucoma). Open-angle glaucoma eye disease is one of the most common types of the disease. It is often called “the silent thief of sight” because there aren’t any symptoms until vision is significantly impaired. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the production of aqueous humor (the clear liquid inside the eye) and its drainage are not balanced. The imbalance may be due to overproduction of fluid or poor drainage of the interior chamber of the eye. Whatever the exact cause, the pressure inside the eye increases and pushes on the optic nerve. This constant pressure on the optic nerve damages it over time.
A variation of open-angle glaucoma is the so called normal-tension glaucoma. It still leads to vision loss and blindness however it doesn’t represent with increased intraocular pressure.
• Narrow-angle glaucoma (or acute glaucoma). Narrow-angle glaucoma often presents with sudden symptoms. It develops when the iris (the colored portion of the eye) is pushed or puller forward and blocks the drainage system of the front portion of the eye. The intraocular pressure spikes rapidly and damages the optic nerve. Narrow-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency as it can lead to significant vision loss and even blindness in a matter of hours. However, there are several variations of this eye disorder that progress slowly without obvious symptoms in their early stages.
Other variations of glaucoma eye disease are pigmentary glaucoma (a rare form of the disease), secondary glaucoma (usually developed after an eye injury or may be triggered by eye inflammation, eye infection, cataract or eye tumor) and congenital glaucoma (inherited glaucoma present at birth).
Glaucoma is one of the most common eyesight disorders; however it is very often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Since the most common types of this eye disease have no symptoms in their initial stages, the only way to detect glaucoma early enough is to undergo regular eye examinations.
Having sufficient information on glaucoma will help you protect and preserve your eyesight by avoiding the risk factors of glaucoma, recognizing its symptoms and choosing the best glaucoma treatment before irreversible vision damage is done.