Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is what transmits the images we see to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve, due to glaucoma, is usually caused by an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP).
The two most common types of glaucoma:
- Open angle glaucoma
- Angle closure glaucoma
Open angle glaucoma
This is the most common form of glaucoma, affecting about three million Americans. It happens when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time. The IOP rises because the correct amount of fluid cannot drain out of the eye. With the increased IOP, there is a reduction in blood flow to the sensitive tissues of the optic nerve. Over time, the optic nerve fibers are destroyed, and side vision is lost. Most people have no symptoms or early warning signs. Regular eye exams can help with the early detection to prevent loss of vision.
Open angle glaucoma can be treated with the following methods:
- Eye drops
- Laser treatment
Angle closure glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is also known as acute glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma. It is more rare and differs greatly from open angle glaucoma in that the eye pressure goes up very fast. This happens when the drainage canals get blocked or covered over.
Your VisionFirst doctors can conduct a simple test to see if your angle is normal and wide or abnormal and narrow.
- Angle closure glaucoma is usually treated with surgery to remove a small portion of the outer edge of the iris. This helps unblock the drainage canals so that any extra fluid can drain.