Glaucoma is a medical eye condition that takes away your vision gradually over time.
Glaucoma comes in many forms, including open-angle glaucoma, but they all affect your eye’s optic nerve.
In most instances, glaucoma causes excess pressure on the optic nerve, which is what eventually leads to blindness.
What is Open-Angle Glaucoma?
Open angle glaucoma is one of the more common forms of the disease and “accounts for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases.”
Even though this form of glaucoma is so common, there are a few symptoms that can alert someone that they have it.
Primary open angle glaucoma is caused when your eye has an inability to clear fluid that forms in the eye. This fluid will eventually cause an increased pressure in the eye, which is what actually causes blindness.
Open Angle Glaucoma Risk Factors
There are little, if any, symptoms that may warn someone of a possible risk with open angle glaucoma, but there are various risk factors that you should be aware of.
- Abnormalities in the Eye: If you have pre-existing eye issues, or abnormalities in the form or shape of the eye, these can all contribute to a higher risk of forming open-angle glaucoma. An issue with the shape of the eye can actually create issues with drainage, which has a direct correlation with open angle glaucoma.
- Age: One of the most common risk factors that is associated with glaucoma is age. As you get older, the tubing used for drainage in your eye shrinks, which in turn makes your eyes more susceptible to blockages and clogging.
If you believe you are at risk for suffering issues with glaucoma, it’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Without proper medical attention, you can quickly lose your eyesight.
What Are the Other Types of Glaucoma?
As mentioned before, glaucoma can come in many forms and all stem from some type of blockage in one area of the eye. Some of the most common types of glaucoma include:
- Primary Open Angle Glaucoma: Occurring mainly in adults over 50, primary open angle glaucoma is the most damaging form of glaucoma because it can take root in the eye without offering any symptoms for early detection.
- Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma: This form of glaucoma is cause by rapid increases in the pressure of the eye. This rapid increase and decrease can wreak havoc on the drainage of fluids from the eye, which in turn results in glaucoma. Acute angle closure glaucoma is caused when the location of the iris is either pushed forward or pulled back, causing the fluctuation in pressure.
- Pigmentary Glaucoma: A subset of open-angle glaucoma, pigmentary glaucoma can affect patients in their twenties and thirties. It is more common in men than in woman, and often occurs with patients that suffer from nearsightedness. These patients are particularly susceptible to pigmentary glaucoma because of the shape of their iris.
- Traumatic Glaucoma: One of the few cases of glaucoma that is preventable, traumatic glaucoma is caused by an injury to the eye. In these cases, there is essentially a bruise on the eye that can damage the internal components in the eye, resulting in loss of vision or other severe vision issues.
Remaining vigilant and continuing with regular checkups are your best ways to prevent glaucoma.
While most forms of the disease do not show symptoms, there are still things to look out for to help you diagnose a possible glaucoma situation.
Early Detection for Glaucoma
Keeping a figurative eye out for glaucoma is the best way to catch it early and prevent the loss of eyesight. Some common symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Hazy vision
- Severe pain in the eye
- Sporadic vision loss
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Obstructions in eyesight
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions, be sure to visit your optometrist immediately.
The best way to prevent losing eyesight because of an undiagnosed glaucoma is to get regular check ups. This is especially true for patients dealing with preexisting eye issues, or for people dealing with variations in eye pressure.
In the event that glaucoma is detected, there are various solutions that may help solve the issue. The most common is laser surgery, which has seen improvements in success rates with the innovation of new techniques and machinery. There are also medication based routes that can provide similar results, but they can take much longer to take affect and can only be used if detected early enough. Your best bet is to make an appointment with your doctor to have your eyes checked regularly.