Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve, which is the main nerve in the eye. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting light signals to the brain, allowing you to see. The most common cause of glaucoma is pressure within the eye.
There are two types of glaucoma:
Open-angle glaucoma can affect anyone, but certain factors increase your risk. These are some of them:
Glaucoma with acute-angle closure tends to run in families. If you have angle-closure glaucoma, you should also have your relatives tested. Increased age, Inuit or East Asian ancestry, and female gender are all risk factors for angle-closure glaucoma. Certain over-the-counter medications can trigger a glaucoma attack, such as those used to treat colds, motion sickness, or allergy symptoms.
Open-angle glaucoma does not usually cause symptoms. However, when it does result in vision loss, it first affects your peripheral vision. This is referred to as tunnel vision.
Acute-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, can cause sudden symptoms such as:
If you have these symptoms, you should see an eye doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
A glaucoma assessment can be performed by an eye doctor using a variety of methods. They will start by inspecting the back of your eye for signs of nerve damage. They will also use a special tool to measure the pressure inside your eye and may order additional testing to assess your visual fields.
If you have open-angle glaucoma, you may be prescribed eye pressure-lowering eye drops or laser therapy to help with fluid drainage. Another option is to have surgery to create a small opening or insert a tube into your eye to aid in fluid drainage. Treatment can help slow the progression of vision loss, but it will not be able to reverse the damage already done. As a result, it is critical to diagnose and treat glaucoma as early as possible.
In case of angle-closure glaucoma, you will need to have your eye pressure lowered very quickly. This can be achieved using medications used as eye drops, pills, or intravenous drips. You may also need laser therapy or surgery to help drain fluid from the eye.