What is Glaucoma?
Because the human eye is so complex, in order for clear eyesight to be possible, so many intricate parts must work together. If just one thing goes wrong, a person's vision can become seriously compromised. For example, the fluid pressure inside of the eye must remain within a remarkably narrow range, and if it elevates too much, that can damage the optic nerve and cause permanent vision loss. This is what happens in most glaucoma cases.
The Healthy Eye's Drainage Cycle
Transparent fluid fills our eyes. The liquid in the larger chamber in the back of the eye is vitreous humor and in the front chambers is aqueous humor. Because the old fluid drains out through the pupil at the same rate that new fluid is produced, a healthy eye can maintain the pressure of these fluids. However, if Glaucoma interrupts the drainage cycle, the pressure of the fluid will rise to the point where it may cause damage if not treated.
What Are The Major Types of Glaucoma
Let's focus on the two main types of Glaucoma: angle-closure and open-angle Glaucoma. When the iris physically blokes the drainage canals in the eye, Angle-closure Glaucoma happens very suddenly. Angle-closure Glaucoma tends to be accompanied by multiple symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, eye pain, extremely blurry vision, and halos around lights. These symptoms should be taken as serious warning signs prompting you to see your eye doctor right away.
Open-angle Glaucoma, which accounts for 90% of glaucoma cases, is much more gradual in onset. The eye's drainage canals become clogged slowly over time, which slows down proper draining. In fact, the patient might not notice it until the later stages because it can happen so slowly. Another reason that regular comprehensive eye exams are so crucial for good eye health. The earlier open-angle Glaucoma is caught, the earlier we can begin treatment and prevent further damage.
Common Glaucoma Risk Factors?
While we're all at risk of developing Glaucoma, there are a few factors that make it much more likely. Hispanic, Black and elderly people are at greater risk of open-angle Glaucoma, while those of Asian descent are at greater risk of angle-closure Glaucoma.
Heredity is one of the most significant risk factors of Glaucoma after age.
Save Your Eyesight With An Early Diagnosis
Currently, there is no way to undo existing optic nerve damage from Glaucoma. That could change in the future, with improvements in medical science. However, the earlier it is caught, modern treatments can halt the progress of the disease. Keep up with regular eye exams and learn about your personal risk factors to protect your eyesight!