The team at Tayani Institute wants to shed light on a serious threat to millions of adults’ vision: glaucoma. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among adults over 60 in the United States. Here, our team shares what you need to know about glaucoma and how you can avoid losing vision to the dangerous disease.
The eye constantly produces a fluid called aqueous humour, which normally drains out of the eye through an area called the drainage angle. However, if the drainage angle malfunctions, this fluid builds up, increasing intraocular pressure and damaging the optic nerve. This is what causes glaucoma.
There are a few types of glaucoma. The most common type of glaucoma, called primary open-angle glaucoma, happens as the drainage canals in the eye gradually become clogged. “Open-angle” refers to the angle between the iris and the cornea, which remains wide and open. Primary open-angle glaucoma develops slowly (similar to a clogged shower drain) and often the symptoms go unnoticed.
The less-common form of glaucoma is known as angle-closure glaucoma, acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and cornea narrows or closes. Cases of angle-closure glaucoma develop very quickly and usually cause noticeable symptoms like sudden blurry vision, severe eye pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Angle-closure glaucoma requires immediate medical attention; if left untreated, it can cause blindness.
Unfortunately, there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma. However, if the disease is identified in its early stages, it can be managed with special medications to prevent damaging the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is more likely to affect adults who:
Our team recommends that people at heightened risk of glaucoma have regular eye exams to look for signs of the disease.
The only certain way to identify glaucoma is with a comprehensive eye exam that measures the pressure inside the eye, examines the eye’s drainage angle and optic nerve and tests vision.
Most people diagnosed with glaucoma are prescribed special eyedrops that lower intraocular pressure, either by reducing the amount of fluid the eye produces or helping the fluid drain from the drainage angle.
Sometimes traditional or laser surgery is recommended to help the fluid drain from the eye. The surgical procedure may involve creating small openings for the fluid to drain out of the eye, or implanting a small drainage tube to send the fluid into a reservoir.
If you have a family history of glaucoma and would like to be screened for the disease, or if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma and want to review your treatment options, please contact Tayani Institute today and request an appointment.