The most common kind of glaucoma, primary open-angle, has earned the condition the nickname of the silent thief of sight. It has no noticeable symptoms outside of permanent vision loss.
This makes it a perfect example of why regular eye appointments are so crucial. Only a trained professional can detect and diagnose glaucoma.
Early detection is the only way to prevent irreversible damage to your eyesight. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma!
All kinds of glaucoma cause permanent harm to your sight by damaging the optic nerve. This is generally associated with slow progression and high eye pressure. This is not always the case.
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. This form of glaucoma occurs when the natural meshwork inside of the eye that allows internal eye fluid to drain becomes clogged.
The fluid is still able to escape, but not as quickly as it should. This instead lets fluid into the eye and creates pressure. The pressure builds up and pushes against the optic nerve, causing damage.
The optic nerve is able to withstand different amounts of pressure, so not everyone is affected the same way by eye pressure.
Angle-closure glaucoma is an even more serious version of the condition. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, the drainage system in angle-closure glaucoma is totally cut off.
This causes eye pressure to increase dramatically and quickly. It leads to faster damage to the optic nerve than with open-angle glaucoma.
It is also accompanied by noticeable symptoms like sharp pain, headache, and nausea. These symptoms denote a medical emergency. Seek medical attention as soon as you can if you find yourself experiencing them.
Normal-tension glaucoma behaves very similarly to open-angle glaucoma. The difference is that it occurs in eyes whose internal pressure levels are in the average range.
Research has yet to show why this happens. Treatment for normal-tension glaucoma is the same as with open-angle glaucoma, regardless.
Stopping Glaucoma’s Progress
There is no cure for glaucoma. It can also not reversible. It can, however, be stopped from getting worse.
This is typically done with glaucoma drops. The prescribed eye drops contain medicine that reduces internal eye pressure.
They either open up the blocked meshwork by forcing the muscles surrounding it to relax or stop the eye from producing as much fluid. This allows a balance to be struck. If necessary, the methods are often used together for the best results.
Treating Glaucoma With Surgery
If medicine fails, there are surgeries that can be performed to relieve eye pressure. Your doctor may try a laser procedure called selective laser trabeculoplasty, or SLT.
It uses a low-level laser to target only spots where the pressure is too high. You can do SLT a little at a time. Glaucoma drops still need to be used after any surgery, or the pressure will rise again.
Have more questions about glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX now! If you can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam, you owe it to yourself to have one sooner rather than later.