Glaucoma is an eye disorder linked to damage to the optic nerve. This nerve is essential for eyesight, as it is directly responsible for carrying information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma, at first, might not have any symptoms, which is why many don’t know they have it until it is too late. In most cases, Glaucoma has taken affect in the eye to the point that the ocular damage is irreversible.
Glaucoma is mostly the result of extensive pressure inside the eye, typically referred to as ocular hypertension. However, even without this building pressure or intraocular pressure (IOP), glaucoma can still occur.
There are six different variants of glaucoma. In this blog, we will discuss each one and foresee the warning signs before your eyesight is compromised.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
In most cases of glaucoma, such as Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, peripheral vision is affected, which can result in total blindness. Glaucoma can happen in two ways: open-angle and narrow-angle. This “angle” is not a geometric phrase, but it refers to the drainage system of the eye. According to John Berdahl, M.D., the angle of the eye is the drainage angle inside the eye that controls the outflow of the watery fluid that is in the eye.
For Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, this means that the watery fluid of the eyes (aqueous) can access the drainage angle. If the ocular pressure is high while this is occuring, vision can become impaired. One way this happens is your eye can lose full-peripheral vision and progress into tunnel vision.
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma works the opposite of primary open-angle glaucoma. In this eye disorder, the aqueous liquid of the eye is blocked from the drainage angle. With this type of glaucoma, symptoms can occur that are sudden, intense, and will most likely require medical attention. The symptoms are:
- Vision Loss
- Eye Pain
- Halos Around Lights
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, you need to seek a medical professional immediately.
In Normal-Tension Glaucoma, the intraocular pressure is normal. This type of glaucoma is the result of open-angle glaucoma that causes visual field loss. Typically, this vision loss is the result of severe damage to the optic nerve.
What is most dangerous about this particular form of glaucoma is that it rarely comes with symptoms. Meaning, you could live with it and never know the damage until you lose complete vision.
Normal-Tension Glaucoma has stumped medical professionals for years. Though the pressure in the eye is normal, glaucoma still forms and damages the optic nerve. Many doctors believe that the root-cause of glaucoma in normal-pressured eyes is caused by a lack of blood flow to the eyes. If you have a vascular disease or have a history of poor optic circulation, you might be at risk for this type of glaucoma.
Pigmentary Glaucoma is a very rare variant of glaucoma. It occurs when the drainage angle is clogged by pigment that has broken loose from the iris of the eye. Because of this blockage, aqueous overflow is kept from the eye and causes damage to the optic nerve.
Much like Normal-Tension Glaucoma, Pigmentary Glaucoma won’t always have symptoms that identify it. Though some have mentioned blurry vision after exercise, most people will not notice this disorder until it is too late.
Secondary Glaucoma typically develops after an eye injury or any other eye-related issues. It is normally a reference to any form of glaucoma that has an identifiable cause and has increased pressure within the eye. Most often, eye infections, tumors, or cataracts will cause Secondary Glaucoma. Inflammation can also cause a type of glaucoma, called Uveitic Glaucoma, which is considered a type of Secondary Glaucoma . Most of these types of glaucoma disorders will develop without any symptoms, so it is a good idea to see an opthamologist or a glaucoma specialist if you believe you are at risk.
Much like all disorders, Congenital Glaucoma can be inherited from our family members and passed down to future generations. With Congenital Glaucoma, you can be diagnosed as young as one-years-old. When children are born with glaucoma, they typically have a type of narrow-angle glaucoma.
It can be a challenge to diagnose a child with glaucoma, especially when they are very young. However, after one year, medical physicians will be able to confirm if your child does, or does not, have glaucoma.
Nearly 3 million people have glaucoma around the world. Glaucoma seems to be a high-risk for African-American and Hispanic minority populations. In fact, blindness from glaucoma is at least six times more likely in African-American populations than in Caucasian populations. The older you are, the more at risk you are for developing glaucoma. However, glaucoma can develop in people in their 30s or 40s. Because the disorder is unpredictable, it is always a good idea to check your eyes regularly.
If you are aging, have a family history of Glaucoma, or feel you are at risk for Secondary Glaucoma, you should come into Sina J. Sabet’s office for an eye exam. By coming in for a tonometry test, she will be able to measure your intraocular pressure. A tonometer test is a easy, simple procedure that will be able to confirm if you eye pressure abnormalities. In the eye exam, your eyes are numbed and a probe is placed against the surface of your eyes. Some other tonometer tests are even easier, and will just send a puff of air into your eye. From the test, your eye examiner will be able to tell you if your eyes are not draining properly or if there is a build up of pressure in your eyes.
If you are interested in your eye care and would like to confirm the possibilities of you having glaucoma, contact a glaucoma specialist near you. If you are currently living in the Alexandria, Virginia area, you’re in luck! Sina J. Sabet MD, PC is an expert in her field and can give you precise information about your eye’s current health and future risks. Contact us today!