Glaucoma Doesn’t Cause A Coma, But It Is Dangerous

The eye continuously creates a crystal-clear fluid called aqueous humor that gives the eye a spherical shape. The aqueous humor gradually moves through the iris to the front of the eye. Once there, the fluid normally drains through a series of channels between the cornea and the iris. Sometimes, the aqueous humor is not able to drain like normal. When this happens, the extra fluid can cause a build-up of pressure in the eye. The pressure can damage the optic nerve, which sends images to the brain.

What’s your angle here?

Types of glaucoma are typically referred to by how the angle between the iris and the cornea is affected. The two main types of glaucoma can have a detrimental effect on the eye but come about in different ways.

Open angle glaucoma

Open angle glaucoma happens when the angle between the cornea and the iris is still open. The trabecular meshwork, or drainage channels, are partially blocked, which causes a very gradual increase in pressure. In fact, the rise in pressure is so gradual that most patients aren’t even aware there is a problem. There are typically no symptoms associated with open angle glaucoma. Unless the condition is closely monitored, the disease’s first indication can be a loss of peripheral vision. The best way to prevent open angle glaucoma is through regular visits to an ophthalmologist. The healthcare specialist will be able to monitor eye pressure over time to check for increases. Eye drops can be proscribed to lower eye pressure if needed.

Angle closure glaucoma

Angle closure glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea becomes completely blocked. This is typically caused by the iris shifting forward, pinching off the drainage channels completely. In this instance, the event is sudden, intense, and leads to a variety of symptoms. Including immense pain in the eye, patients can also experience loss of vision, nausea, vomiting, and more. When it comes to angle closure glaucoma, immediate treatment is almost always required. The eye physician will likely start with some medication. This medication can either constrict the pupil or reduce the amount of fluid the eye makes. Whether or not medication is able to reduce pressure in the eye, the eye surgeon may also perform a procedure. This procedure can be in the form of a laser or a more conventional surgery to clear the drainage area. It’s also possible to remove the lens to bring the pressure back down.

I see hope on the horizon

Glaucoma is more likely to appear in high-risk individuals, such as older adults and people with shorter eyes. Even so, glaucoma can affect any person of any age and level of health. Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss, but monitoring the eye can keep glaucoma in check. Regular visits with an eye specialist can bring eye pressure back to a safe level or keep glaucoma away.