What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve and result in the degeneration of the optic nerve. This is usually caused by increased pressure inside the eye. In most patients, glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye reaches a level that is sufficient enough to cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and even blindness
What causes optic nerve damage in glaucoma?
The back of the eye continuously produces a transparent fluid called aqueous humour which flows in and out of the anterior chamber, a space in the front of the eye. This fluid nourishes the nearby tissues. Normally, fluid leaves the chamber through the open-angle, the area where the cornea and iris meet.
What are the types of glaucoma?
There are three main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma: The angle in the eye is open but does not function properly. This prevents the fluid from draining, causing the pressure in the eye to rise.
- Closed-angle glaucoma: The angle in the eye is closed or blocked, preventing the fluid inside from draining which causes the pressure in the eye to rise. For some, this blockage can happen suddenly resulting in severe pain and vision loss. This is known as acute closed-angle glaucoma. For others, this blockage may occur over time and may cause periods of headaches. This is called chronic closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is considered to be very serious and should be treated as soon as possible.
- Congenital glaucoma: This form of glaucoma happens when a child is born with a defect in the angle of the eye. This defect will slow the normal drainage of fluid and the child may experience symptoms such as cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light and constant tearing.