Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that slowly destroy the optic nerve. It is caused by blockages in the drainage canals that cause pressure within the eye to increase. That pressure eventually damages the optic nerve. This condition is the most common cause of irreversible blindness throughout the world. It can affect one or both eyes.
What is Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma?
This is the most common type. It is an insidious disease that produces no symptoms for many years. The patient may not even notice any vision loss for years, for the disease only affects their peripheral vision at first. The patient’s central vision remains as sharp and acute as that of a healthy person until the disease is quite advanced.
Open-angle glaucoma is most common in people who are over 40 years old. It is more common in African Americans than in Caucasians. Some medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease or severe myopia can increase the chances of developing open-angle glaucoma.
What is Angle-Closure Glaucoma?
The symptoms develop suddenly and are therefore quite noticeable. They include the following:
• Sudden vision loss
• Blurred or hazy vision
• Seeing rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
• Severe pain in the eyes and head accompanied by nausea and vomiting
What is Exfoliation Syndrome?
Exfoliation or pseudoexfoliation syndrome is a common cause of glaucoma. It is caused by an abnormal accumulation of proteins in the front of the eye. The proteins cause the condition if they block the eye’s drainage system, and the resultant condition is sometimes called exfoliative glaucoma. The disease usually resembles open-angle glaucoma, but progresses more quickly. It can sometimes cause symptoms of the angle-closure type.
Exfoliative glaucoma is more common in women than in men, and it usually develops in people who are at least 50 years old. It is especially common in people of Scandinavian descent.
Congenital glaucoma is a rare form that occurs when a baby is born with a defective drainage system. A child with this type will have oversized and cloudy eyes. They will be abnormally sensitive to light, and their eyes will water constantly.
Low tension or normal tension glaucoma is a type that develops in people who don’t have damaged drainage systems or abnormally high pressure in their eyes. Many people with this condition experience no symptoms until the disease is advanced. In many cases, patients will suffer hemorrhages in the blood vessels near the optic nerve. Such patients will often have symptoms that indicate problems with their vascular system like abnormally low blood pressure, cold feet and hands or migraines.
Secondary glaucoma is caused by some other problem. It can be caused by injuries, cataracts or inflammation of the eye. Steroids are a common cause, for they can increase the pressure within the eye.