Many people may have serious concerns when dealing with potential eye conditions. Untreated eye diseases can lead to poor vision or even temporary or permanent blindness. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of eye disease, so that you can receive early treatment to protect your vision. A well known, but not necessarily well-understood eye disease is glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the name given to eye diseases where there is an unsafe accumulation of internal eye pressure, referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure is dangerous because it can damage the optic nerve of the eye. When the optic nerve cannot communicate visual information to the brain, vision is not possible.
There are two main types of glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) gradually reduces peripheral vision. Angle-closure glaucoma comes with the sudden onset of symptoms each time part of your field of vision is destroyed.
The types of symptoms include eye pain, light “halos,” nausea and headaches. While angle-closure glaucoma can be devastating, primary open-angle glaucoma is more insidious. With primary open-angle glaucoma, the majority of a person’s peripheral vision can be stolen undetected.
There are other less common types of glaucoma. Normal tension glaucoma causes optic nerve damage while the IOP remains in a normal range. Congential glaucoma occurs when children are born with an eye defect causing glaucoma. Pigmentary glaucoma results when pigment clogs the draining angles. Secondary glaucoma is a chronic glaucoma resulting from an eye injury.
It is possible that eye drops can control eye pressure and prevent long-lasting damage. Unfortunately, glaucoma does not often come with regular, noticeable symptoms. Many people may become careless with their treatment regimen, resulting in permanent eye damage.
Glaucoma surgery may also be an option. One type of glaucoma surgery is selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), which creates small holes in the eye’s filtration angle. Another possibility is a trabeculectomy, which creates an artificial drainage area in the eye.
You should have regular eye examinations to have your eye pressure measured. If your eye care professional discovers glaucoma, have a detailed talk with him about the options available and the risks and benefits of different types of treatment.