All You Need to Know About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the most common eye conditions affecting individuals in the United States. In fact, studies by the Glaucoma Research Foundation show that approximately 2.2 million Americans suffer from glaucoma. Check out this overview of glaucoma to learn more.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma refers to an eye disease in which damage to the optic nerve causes progressive vision loss. There are several different types of glaucoma:

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma: When there is a clog deep within the drainage canals of the eye, inner eye pressure or intraocular pressure rises, causing this form of glaucoma.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma: When the drainage canals become blocked or covered over, or when the iris is not as wide as it should be, intraocular eye pressure rises quickly.
  • Normal-tension glaucoma: Although this form of glaucoma does not result from excessive eye pressure, it nevertheless causes damage to the optic nerve.

Risk Factors

While glaucoma is generally more common among individuals over 60, there are a number of other factors that may increase your risk including:

  • Heredity and family history of glaucoma
  • Eye injury
  • Being of African American, Hispanic, or Asian ethnicity
  • Steroid use
  • Extreme nearsightedness or myopia
  • Hypertension
  • Corneal thickness less than 0.5mm

Signs and Symptoms

Glaucoma may not always present symptoms during the early stages, increasing the need for routine eye examinations. However, symptoms of more advanced glaucoma may include the loss of peripheral vision, loss of sharpness or visual acuity, halos around lights, and eye redness. Individuals suffering from closed-angle glaucoma may also experience severe eye pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Treatment Options

While glaucoma cannot be reversed, there are a number of treatment options designed to manage the symptoms and prevent further degeneration. Treatment options may include eye drops or medications to lower intraocular eye pressure, surgical reshaping of the drainage canals, and laser eye surgery to unclog the drainage canals and form new pathways.

The best way to determine if you are suffering from glaucoma is to consult with your Boston eye doctor. For more information on the symptoms or your laser vision correction options contact Boston Laser at (617) 566-0062.