Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs in your eye’s optic nerve. This disease is the second leading cause of blindness, and the leading cause in people over 60, but can be treated if caught early enough.
This devastating eye disease is caused by a build-up of fluid on the eye that causes pressure damaging the optic nerve. This pressure is called intraocular pressure and without treatment can cause total and permanent blindness in a few years of developing the condition. What makes this disease so prevalent is that it causes no pain, so without an exam from your eye doctor you may not notice the symptoms until permanent damage to your eye has been done. Just one more reason to see your eye doctor regularly.
Two Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of Glaucoma, the most common one being Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma. This type occurs when the drainage canals of the inner eye become clogged. This type does not cause vision changes at first so it is hard for a person to detect. If your eyes are sensitive to the normal pressure you may be at a higher risk of this type of Glaucoma. In a healthy eye, aqueous humor fluid flows out of the eye through a channel with a mesh-like structure. It is this channel that when blocked causes Glaucoma. While doctors still do not know what causes this blockage it is known that the disease can be inherited so if your parents had this you are in danger of also developing the disease.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma or Closed Angle Glaucoma is less common but equally as damaging and, in some ways, more dangerous as the pressure on the eye rises very quickly. When this type of Glaucoma develops it is known as an acute attack and you should see your ophthalmologist immediately or you could suffer permanent vision loss. Symptoms of an acute attack include severe eye pain, blurry vision, headaches, even nausea. You may also see halos around lights or rainbow-colored rings around lights. Angle-Closure Glaucoma can also slowly develop and is considered a chronic version of this type of Glaucoma. What is actually happening is that when the eye encounters changing light conditions the pupils enlarge, if the drainage canals are clogged the iris bunches up around the outer edges.
Glaucoma is not curable in that once vision is gone it cannot be regained. But with surgery and or medication an Ophthalmologist can prevent further loss of vision. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma but it is definitely something you need to take more seriously as you age. Since there are no obvious symptoms this disease is very dangerous One thing that does become apparent is a loss of peripheral vision if you find yourself turning your head more to see this is an early warning sign.
Some facts about Glaucoma
- In the United States Glaucoma accounts for approximately 10% of all cases of blindness.
- Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common form experienced.
- Of the three million Americans who have glaucoma, it is estimated that only 50% know it.
Glaucoma References and Resources
Jerry Willis is the owner of Lumen Eyewear and the computer glasses and reading glasses brand Visualites. Jerry has years of experience in eyewear frame and lens design and manufacturing of eyewear and is a member of the Vision Council of the United States of America. Lumen Eyewear is also a FDA licensed manufacturer and importer of reading glasses and computer glasses. Visualites is dedicated to bringing its customers products that not only improve their vision but the health of their eyes.