Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the major nerve of the eye called the optic nerve, a part of the central nervous system that carries visual information from the eye to the brain.
The eye experiences a gradual increase of intraocular pressure (IOP) due to an imbalance of the fluid produced in the eye and the amount of fluid drained. Over time, elevated IOP can cause vision loss. The most common form of glaucoma is primary open angle glaucoma which affects about 3 million Americans. However, there are other types including narrow angle, congenital, normal tension, and secondary glaucoma.
At age 50 about 2% of the US population has glaucoma, increasing to 4% by age 70 and 24% for those over age 80. While anyone can develop glaucoma, there are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of having this disease, which include:
- A family history of glaucoma
- Mexican American heritage over the age of 60
- African American heritage over age 40.
Often people with glaucoma are unaware they have the disease because there are no symptoms, so it is recommended that you have a dilated eye exam every two years. With early diagnosis there are treatments that can often protect against irreversible damage to the optic nerve that can lead to serious vision loss. Glaucoma can be treated with eye medications, lasers, and various surgical procedures. However, if glaucoma is not controlled it can cause debilitating loss of vision.
Glaucoma : Overview
You can be diagnosed by your doctor with different types of glaucoma. In the video selection below, each type is defined and includes closed-angle, narrow-angle, open-angle and exfoliation syndrome. Depending on the type you have, your treatment options will differ, so it is important to know which type you have.
Glaucoma – Closed Angle
Glaucoma : Narrow-Angle
Glaucoma: Primary Open Angle
Glaucoma: Pseudoexfoliation Syndrome