Glaucoma is often referred to as an eye disease, but it is actually a group of conditions. Primary open-angle and acute angle-closure glaucoma are the most common types. These conditions cause damage to the optic nerve, which leads to vision loss . Continue reading to find out more about glaucoma.
There are a number of risk factors which increase the chances that an individual will develop glaucoma. Those who are older than age 40, those who are African American, and those with a family history of the condition are at an increased risk. Eye injuries, tumors, and conditions like hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes also elevate the risk. Those who use corticosteroid medications for a prolonged time and those with elevated internal eye pressure are also more likely to develop glaucoma.
The most common cause of the various types of glaucoma is a buildup of pressure within the eye, called intraocular pressure. This typically damages the optic nerve and is frequently caused by an accumulation of fluid in the eye, called aqueous humor.
The symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type. Quite often, those with open-angle glaucoma experience no symptoms for a prolonged period. This type of glaucoma can cause the gradual loss of peripheral vision. When this condition is progressed, it can cause blindness. Those with acute angle-closure glaucoma can experience eye pain, sudden visual disturbance, blurred vision, eye reddening, nausea, and vomiting. Patients may also notice halos around light sources.
The treatment options for glaucoma are intended to reduce intraocular pressure. To that end, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drops or oral medications to increase drainage of eye fluid or to reduce the amount of fluid that is produced. Some patients may also require surgery, such as laser surgery, to encourage drainage.
Early detection of glaucoma is critical for best treatment results. Protect your vision by scheduling eye appointments regularly with your ophthalmologist. Dr. Mark Hornfeld is a board-certified ophthalmologist who can detect and treat glaucoma. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hornfeld today by calling (212) 580-8881.