Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, or the nerve that transmits information to the brain. It is one of the leading causes of blindness and has been called the “silent thief of sight” because sometimes it irreversibly damages the eyes without causing vision loss or any other symptoms.
Since glaucoma is such a threat to the eyes, the team at Tayani Institute in Mission Viejo wants to raise awareness of the disease and its warning signs amongst our patients. Read on as we discuss the different types of glaucoma.
The eye continuously produces fluid, which circulates in the front of the eye and filters out from the eye through the trabecular meshwork in an area called the drainage angle, where the cornea and the iris meet. In a healthy eye, the fluid is constantly draining out of the eye to keep the intraocular pressure steady. But in cases of glaucoma, the drainage angle becomes “clogged” or blocked, causing the fluid to build up and the intraocular pressure to spike.
Open-angle glaucoma refers to cases of glaucoma where the fluid in the eye does not drain as well as it should, because the drainage angle becomes clogged (like a sink or shower drain). The intraocular pressure slowly starts to rise, and eventually causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Most cases of glaucoma are of the open-angle variety. What’s tricky about open-angle glaucoma is that it develops slowly and often without any symptoms, until the optic nerve is eventually damaged.
In other cases of glaucoma, the drainage angle becomes completely blocked by the eye’s iris, and fluid is not able to properly filter from the eye. This causes a sudden spike in intraocular pressure, and is considered an emergency. In cases of angle-closure glaucoma, also known as closed-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma, the attack can cause symptoms including severe eye pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision and halos around lights. Immediate medical attention is needed to prevent permanent vision loss. If left untreated, angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness.
If you have questions about glaucoma, or have been diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma and want to explore your treatment options with our team, please contact (949) 489-2218 or email Tayani Institute today.