There’s more to glaucoma than a terrifying condition that silently robs you of your eyesight. It is a complex disease with a lot of factors. Here are some surprising facts about “the silent thief of sight”.
There Are Different Types Of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is usually caused by a gradual rising of pressure inside the eye, but this is not always the case. These are the three main forms of glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is what most of us think of when it comes to glaucoma. In fact, over 90% of glaucoma cases are open-angle. The defining characteristic of this glaucoma is how slowly it damages eyesight.
The pressure inside of the eye builds slowly but consistently. This is due to a blockage in the eye’s drainage canal. The changes are so slow that symptoms are usually not noticed until vision loss has occurred.
Angle-closure glaucoma couldn’t be more different. This glaucoma hits hard and suddenly, causing large amounts of pain and disorientation. Eyesight lost is still permanent, but it happens much faster.
Angle-closure glaucoma happens when the eye’s drainage canal is completely shut off, causing a spike in eye pressure. Experiencing sudden eye pain, nausea, and headaches are symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma.
This is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention. When left untreated, angle-closure glaucoma can cause retinal detachment and blindness. Compared to open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is much rarer.
Normal-tension glaucoma is the exception to the rule. Sometimes patients get glaucoma even though their eye pressure appears to be normal. These patients are “glaucoma suspects” and at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma Is Genetic
People with a family history of glaucoma are at a much higher risk of developing it than others. Additionally, things like age and ethnicity may play a role.
If you have a family member with glaucoma, schedule regular eye exams! This helps your eye doctor catch glaucoma in its earliest stages if you do have it.
Glaucoma Affects The Optic Nerve
The reason we lose sight from high intraocular pressure is it causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the cord that links the eye to the brain.
Once damaged, there is no repairing the optic nerve. There are people with higher pressure but they are still at risk of glaucoma.
Glaucoma Can’t Be Reversed, But It Is Manageable
The damage done to your optic nerve from glaucoma is permanent. The effects of glaucoma can stabilize and become manageable by taking medication.
This medication is usually taken in the form of eye drops. Eye drops must be taken exactly as prescribed, otherwise, they are not as effective. If eye drops are not enough to lower your intraocular pressure, surgery may be necessary.
You will not be able to detect glaucoma by yourself. The only way to detect glaucoma is to have a complete eye exam with an ophthalmologist.
Can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam? That’s a good indicator it’s time for one! Schedule an appointment with Frantz EyeCare in Fort Myers, FL today!