Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs when a build-up of fluid creates pressure in the eye, which then damages the optic nerve^1^. The optic nerve is responsible for the transmission of information from your eyes to your brain, and damage associated with it can lead to severe vision loss, and in the worst case, blindness^1^.


Causes

There are four different types of glaucoma, stemming from different causes^2^:

  • Chronic open angle glaucoma - the most common form of the disease, chronic open angle glaucoma results from a pressure build-up in the eye, and causes severe vision loss without the warning of noticeable symptoms. Its exact cause is unknown, although experts have speculated that the eye’s naturally diminishing ability to drain fluid may be responsible for high amounts of intraocular pressure, which can lead to damage of the optic nerve, and vision loss.
  • Acute closed angle glaucoma - unlike chronic open angle glaucoma, arrives suddenly and painfully. It is extremely serious, and can cause permanent vision loss quickly. It comes as the result of a narrow drainage angle (or the area of the eye in between the iris and cornea being unable to drain fluid).
  • Secondary glaucoma - gets its name because it arrives as a result of something else, including previous medical conditions, injuries, irregularities, or medications.
  • Normal-tension glaucoma - a form of glaucoma where tension in the eye is inexplicably normal, yet the optic nerve is still damaged. This is rare, considering glaucoma is usually characterized by a high amount of intraocular pressure.

Symptoms

Treatment

1. NHS. Glaucoma. Available at: [http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Glaucoma/Pages/Introduction.aspx]
2. Glaucoma Research Foundation. (2016) Types of Glaucoma. Available at: [http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/types-of-glaucoma.php]

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