Though the common perception is that glaucoma refers to just one condition, the term actually describes a group of eye diseases that can affect the optic nerve and impair vision. Understanding these different glaucoma types allows our SightMD team to devise an effective treatment plan and protect your vision for further degradation.
Understanding Degenerative Eye Disease
The type of glaucoma will dictate, at least in part, the treatment method that is employed. Through glaucoma diagnosis, we can determine the degree and type of eye disease that you are suffering. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with glaucoma, including loss of periphery vision or tunnel vision, or are an at-risk patient, please don’t hesitate to contact SightMD today. The earlier that treatment is sought, the better the chance of preserving your vision.
Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye, typically as a result of improper drainage. This fluid buildup places pressure on the optic nerve, which can cause irreparable damage. There are several different glaucoma types that we can treat. If you are diagnosed with one of the following, we will educate you on your treatment options so that you can make an informed decision regarding your health.
- Open-angle Glaucoma – This is the most commonly occurring form of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma refers to a condition in which fluid from the anterior chamber drains out of the eye via the open angle where the iris and cornea meet. There is a spongy mesh-like tissue at this open angle which serves as a drain, but in some cases, it may be insufficient to properly drain enough of the acqueous humour. If this occurs, fluid buildup can occur within the eye and raise the eye pressure. Though medication, eye drops,non-surgical glaucoma treatment such as lasers, or in severe cases, glaucoma surgery, eye pressure can be lowered to reduce pressure on and damage to the optic nerve.
- Angle-closure Glaucoma – In cases of angle-closure glaucoma, patients may experience rapid onset of symptoms. The drainage opening between the iris and cornea becomes blocked, resulting in a rapid buildup of pressure. Individuals who suffer from angle-closure glaucoma may experience severe eye pain or nausea, as well as blurred vision and redness. Because of the severe and rapid development of pressure caused by angle-closure glaucoma, it is imperative that patients seek treatment immediately. This condition poses a medical emergency that if left untreated can result in permanent blindness.
- Congenital Glaucoma – This disease occurs in children. Signs and symptoms associated with this disease include cloudy corneas, excessive tear production, sensitivity to light and enlarged eyes. To treat congenital glaucoma, glaucoma surgery, such as goniotomy or trabeculotomy, is usually necessary. If treated early, good vision can usually be preserved.
- Secondary Glaucoma – If you suffer other eye conditions or medical conditions, glaucoma may occur as a resulting complication. For example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes can cause a condition called neovascular glaucoma in which new blood vessels grow over the drainage angle of the eye. These new blood vessels can block this drain and cause the eye pressure to rise to unacceptabel levels. A breakdown of pigment from the iris can cause pigmentary glaucoma, as this pigment damages the eye drain. Internal eye structure breakdown can cause pseudoexfoliation glaucoma, and this material can also damage the eye drain. Other conditions, such as advanced cataracts, eye tumors, or uveitis (a swelling of the middle layer of the eye) may also cause secondary glaucoma.
- Low-tension or Normal-tension Glaucoma – In some cases, individuals with normal eye pressure may still experience glaucoma. This may be due to low blood pressure, though causes can vary. If risk factors which can contribute to low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma cannot be identified, then the condition will be treated in the same manner as open-angle glaucoma. Typically, lowering eye pressure by 30 percent or more can slow the onset of glaucoma.
If you have glaucoma, we highly encourage you to seek treatment immediately. Early treatment can prove invaluable in the preservation of your vision.
To arrange a personal consultation with a member of our team, please contact SightMD today. You can rest assured that your vision will be in good hands, and that your best interests will be taken into consideration when devising a treatment plan.