Glaucoma Gets On Your Nerves

Eye tissue without blood vessels like the iris and lens remain healthy by absorbing nutrients from the aqueous humor. This clear fluid is created by the eye to serve this specific purpose before exiting through drainage channels. When these drains become partially or wholly blocked, aqueous humor can build up in the eye. The result is increased pressure that can cause glaucoma to set in.

Dangerous business

Glaucoma is an eye disease that often stems from this abnormal pressure. That tension slowly presses on the optic nerve that sends images to the brain. If left unchecked, the nerve passageways will die and lead to permanent vision loss or total blindness over time.

Double trouble

There are two main types of glaucoma, brought on by slightly different circumstances. With primary open-angle glaucoma, the angle for aqueous humor to drain from the eye is still somewhat open. Since some fluid drains, pressure buildup is gradual enough that damage is often unnoticeable. With angle-closure glaucoma, the eye’s drainage channels are completely blocked and typically leads to a myriad of symptoms.

The signs of the times

Depending on the type of glaucoma present, a patient can experience different visual symptoms. All are severe and should warrant an immediate trip to an eye doctor.

Vision changes with open-angle glaucoma

Because open-angle glaucoma can take years to manifest, vision changes can take just as long to appear. When left to worsen, the disease initially causes blurriness around the edges of vision. Everything in the center looks clear, but looking left or right has a haze.

As the condition progresses, blurriness fades to blind spots that leave black dots or black crescents on either side of vision. These dark areas will expand over time, creating the effect of tunnel vision. Individuals can still see clearly looking straight ahead, but all other sight is lost. The ailment will continue working inward until no vision is left.

Vision changes with angle-closure glaucoma

Vision changes due to angle-closure glaucoma can appear the moment the drainage channels become blocked. Since eye pressure increases so rapidly, side effects can be severe. Patients may experience extreme sensitivity to light not even be able to look in a light’s direction without pain. Others can see a rainbow-colored halo encircling the light source. Worse yet, vision loss can suddenly occur in parts of the eye.

A relentless attack on the eyes

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today, affecting roughly 7.7 million people. The disease is the leading cause of irreparable vision loss, with even severe refractive error and cataracts typically treatable. Given that the ailment can be hereditary[a], knowing about any family history can prevent permanent damage.

The best course of action is to see an ophthalmologist regularly to catch any signs of glaucoma before the condition progresses. Should any symptoms like the ones above occur, consult a healthcare specialist as soon as possible. Glaucoma can’t be cured at this time, but treatments can keep things from worsening.