Did you know that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness or vision loss for people over 60?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that can affect people of all ages. It damages the optic nerve, interfering with the communication of the eye with the brain. When the aqueous humor, the liquid found in the eye, is in excess, it causes glaucoma. This happens due to the aqueous humor's pressure on the front of the eye.
Usually, this ocular fluid should flow out of the eye at the same rate it is flowing in. But if the drainage angle, the path of the fluid to flow out, is not working correctly, the fluid piles up. This piling up of the ocular fluid increases pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. The damage caused by this pressure is gradual and eventually, if untreated, causes vision loss.
In open-angle glaucoma, the issue is with the blocking of the trabecular meshwork. The drainage angle in the eye works perfectly, but the fluid fails to flow out correctly. This causes the buildup of ocular pressure that impacts the optic nerve. The damage is gradual and usually presents no symptoms until the vision loss happens.
The eye's iris swells outward in angle-closure glaucoma, blocking the drainage angle. This impedes the fluid from circulating, causing the buildup of ocular pressure. Sometimes, a patient can have a smaller drainage angle than usual, predisposing them to angle-closure glaucoma. This glaucoma, unlike open-angle, may develop suddenly or gradually.
This is a form of glaucoma where the ocular fluid pressure is at normal pressure but still damages the optic nerve. Researchers have not yet found a cause for this to happen. However, they suspect that it can result from having less blood supply to the optic nerve.
In this type of glaucoma, pigments from the iris collect in the drainage angle, causing an obstruction. Activities like jogging can cause the pigments to move from the iris and settle on the trabecular meshwork. This will usually cause the ocular pressure to change.
Children are likely to develop glaucoma despite it being more common in older adults. An untreated condition can damage the optic nerve in children and infants. It may also sustain damage from blocked drainage.
The first sign of glaucoma is vision loss in your peripheral. If you notice that your vision is not as good on the sides, you should see a doctor immediately. However, this is not an early sign of glaucoma; it means that your glaucoma is in the advanced stages.
This is to indicate that it will be more challenging to treat. Sometimes, you may not experience any warning signs until you have entirely lost your vision. Sudden complete vision loss is prevalent with open-angle glaucoma.
Because of this characteristic of glaucoma, eye doctors recommend regular eye checkups once you turn 40. This is the easiest and most effective way to catch glaucoma in the developing stages.
Some of the common early warning signs of angle-closure glaucoma are
Vomiting and nausea
Redness and eye pain
Halos around lights
For more on the first signs of glaucoma, call Abraham Eye Associates at (484) 209-0800 to reach our office in Villanova, Pennsylvania.