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What is Glaucoma? Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

  • Posted on: Feb 17 2022
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Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. Left untreated, it can cause blindness. The condition usually occurs when fluid builds up behind your eye. It leads to high intraocular pressure and can damage the retina and other optic nerves. Blurred vision and halos around lights at night are the most common symptoms, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all until it is too late for effective treatment.

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and the most usual form of irreversible it. Diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma. A poorly controlled blood sugar level can cause the eye’s natural fluid pressure to rise in people with this disease.

The Two Distinct Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma has two types: primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type of glaucoma, typically affects people over 40 and can lead to gradual blindness if left untreated. There is usually no pain associated with this condition and vision loss usually does not occur immediately, although it can occur quickly. As the eye does not drain fluid well, it can build up in the front of the eye and increase pressure inside it. Eventually, this increased pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to blindness.

Angular closure glaucoma, also known as narrow-angle glaucoma or closed-angle glaucoma, is a type of glaucoma caused by an obstruction of drainage channels at the base of the eye. Glaucoma occurs when the drainage area in the eye is near the iris. The iris, which is normally clear, blocks effective drainage, causing high intraocular pressure.

Some of the Most Common Symptoms

Most often, open-angle glaucoma does not cause symptoms. Untreated, it can cause vision loss followed by blindness, so you should get regular eye exams to catch it before it progresses.

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common than open-angle glaucoma. As a result of fluid building up inside the eye and blocking the exit route for drainage, angle-closure glaucoma causes severe headaches due to increased pressure in the eye. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, halos around lights, eye pain, blurred vision, and red eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms of glaucoma, consider this is a medical emergency. See your doctor or ophthalmologist immediately.

Who Is at Most Risk?

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include age, race, family history, and medical conditions. People over 60, who are black, Asian, or Hispanic, or who have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or sickle cell anemia are at an increased risk of contracting this eye disease.

How Ophthalmologists Diagnose Glaucoma

A pachymeter is used to measure the thickness of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Measurement of both eyes takes about one minute. A doctor will also perform a field of vision test to determine whether you have suffered any vision loss because of this disease.

The Only Effective Treatment Plan for This Eye Disease

Currently, the only treatment for glaucoma is a reduction in intraocular pressure (IOP). There are three ways to lower IOP levels: eyedrops, laser treatment, or surgery.

Make an Appointment

Dr. Jason Gilbert’s ophthalmologist Medford MA eye center is a highly respected and established practice in the Boston area. In addition to providing quality vision care for over 20 years, he is a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in cataract surgery, LASIK, glaucoma treatment, and other eye diseases. If you wish to have an eye exam or seek effective glaucoma treatment, call us at 781-303-9471 or visit Jason Gilbert, M.D., P.C. online. We are located at 101 Main St., Suite 208, Medford, MA 02155.

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