Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises but even people with normal pressure can lose vision to glaucoma. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
In fact, as the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma creates at least some vision loss in more than half of the approximately 2.5 million Americans estimated to have the eye disease.
TYPES OF GLAUCOMA
Open-angle Glaucoma: is the most common form. Most common type of glaucoma; damages vision gradually and painlessly. The pressure is rarely high enough to be symptomatic. Some people have other types of the disease.
Angle-closure or narrow angle glaucoma produces sudden symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea, and vomiting. These signs may last for a few hours, then return again for another round. Each attack takes with it part of your field of vision.
Symptoms of chronic glaucoma following an eye injury could indicate secondary glaucoma, which also may develop with presence of infection, inflammation, a tumor, or an enlarged cataract.
Like POAG, normal-tension glaucoma (also termed normal-pressure glaucoma, low-tension glaucoma, or low-pressure glaucoma) is an open-angle type of glaucoma that can cause visual field loss due to optic nerve damage. But in normal-tension glaucoma, the eye’s IOP remains in the normal range. Also, pain is unlikely and permanent damage to the eye’s optic nerve may not be noticed until symptoms such as tunnel vision occur.
This inherited form of glaucoma is present at birth, with 80% of cases diagnosed by age one. These children are born with narrow angles or some other defect in the drainage system of the eye. It’s difficult to spot signs of congenital glaucoma, because children are too young to understand what is happening to them. If you notice a cloudy, white, hazy, enlarged, or protruding eye in your child, consult your eye doctor. Congenital glaucoma typically occurs more in boys than in girls.
GLAUCOMA SYMPTOMS & SIGNS
Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight,” because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms. For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss.
Glaucoma occurs in several types, and signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of glaucoma you have.
Primary open-angle glaucoma progresses with few or no symptoms until the condition reaches an advanced stage. Open-angle glaucoma usually affects both eyes, although at first you may have vision loss in just one eye.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma develops suddenly in response to a rapid rise in eye pressure. Permanent vision loss can occur within a day of the attack, so it requires immediate medical attention. An attack often happens in the evening or in a darkened room when the light is dim and your pupils have become relatively dilated. Pain may be severe. Signs and symptoms include:
Halos around lights
Reddening of the eye
Severe eye pain
Nausea and vomiting
The aqueous humour is the clear fluid circulating within and nourishing some parts of the eye which have no blood supply. ‘Normal’ individuals have an equal production and drainage of this fluid resulting in a constant pressure within the eye. If the drainage is compromised due to any reason, there is a pressure build-up in the eye, which can damage the optic nerve.