Glaucoma is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans each year. When it is left untreated, it can cause a loss of vision and even blindness. It is one of the most common causes of blindness for people over the age of 60.
The damage caused by glaucoma can be mitigated or prevented with early intervention. Unfortunately, glaucoma often does not present any symptoms. This makes yearly eye exams even more important, especially for people over 40.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that can cause damage to your optic nerve. It is usually caused by high pressure within your eye, though it can also occur if the pressure in the eye is normal. This pressure is caused by the aqueous humor, or the fluid in your eyes.
Your eye makes fluid constantly. As it makes new fluid, the old fluid should drain out, leaving the pressure in your eye constant. If the fluid does not drain properly, the pressure inside the eye rises. This causes damage to the optic nerve and can threaten your vision.
What Are the Types of Glaucoma?
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma – This is the most common variety of glaucoma. The eye does not drain fluid as it needs to and the pressure in the eye gradually rises.
- Angle-closure glaucoma – This occurs when your iris sits close to the drainage angle, which is where the aqueous humor drains out of your eye, and blocks the flow of the fluid. Pressure raises very rapidly inside the eye when this happens. Angle-closure glaucoma is an eye emergency and requires immediate attention to prevent blindness.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Frighteningly, open-angle glaucoma often has no symptoms in its earliest stages. In later stages, blind spots appear in your peripheral vision. These blind spots then move to your main field of vision.
Angle-closure glaucoma can cause severe headaches, nausea or vomiting, serious eye pain, halos or rings around light sources, blurry vision, and eye redness. If you suspect you might be experiencing angle-closure glaucoma, you should contact your eye care professional right away.
Protect Your Vision at Valley Eyecare Center
Early intervention is the key to beating glaucoma. It’s vital that you receive a yearly eye exam, especially if you are over 40. Contact Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to set up an appointment today!