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^.
There are four different types of glaucoma, stemming from different causes^2^:
Glaucoma often develops with no symptoms, making it impossible for patients to detect until significant (and irreversible) damage has been done^1^. For this reason, it is critically important to frequently be checked by an optician for ocular hypertension (an irregularly high amount of intraocular pressure that can signal a person is at high risk for glaucoma). In the case of acute closed angle glaucoma, symptoms will be sudden and severe, including^1^:
Prescription eye drops can decrease eye pressure by slowing the production of fluids within the eye or improving the drainage flow^1^. This may not be right for every patient because of the varying side effects; your eye care professional will provide the treatment option that is right for your condition.
Glaucoma surgery improves the flow of fluids from the eye, relieving pressure on the optic nerve^1^. Your doctor may use a highly focused laser beam, either to modify the existing drainage route^1^ or to create an alternate hole in the iris, depending on the type of glaucoma you have. Surgery can treat glaucoma, but it cannot reverse existing damage, so it is imperative to receive regular eye examinations to avoid damage before it happens.
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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