What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that ultimately damage the optic nerve and disrupt the transmission of information from the eye to the brain.

When there is an increase of fluid pressure in the eye (glaucoma) – due to an overproduction of fluid or due to a blockage of the drainage system of the eye – the upsurge of intraocular pressure can literally crush the sensitive optic nerve. This level of damage to the optic nerve can lead to irreversible, permanent vision loss. This can be a gradual process or a sudden one, depending on the type of glaucoma.

Types of Glaucoma

  • Open-angle glaucoma (the majority of cases are this type): caused by a blockage in the trabecular meshwork
  • Angle-closure glaucoma (medical emergency): caused by the iris blocking part of the angle of the eye leading to an abrupt increase in intraocular pressure and immediate symptoms
  • Congenital glaucoma: caused by the anatomical angle of the eye that collects fluid
  • Secondary glaucoma: caused by injury, disease or a complication of prior eye surgery

Symptoms of Glaucoma

An estimated 3 million Americans have glaucoma; however, without regular eye exams, this condition can remain undiagnosed and silently stealing your sight. The minute you experience a symptom of glaucoma, permanent damage may already be done. This is because with most types of glaucoma, there are no obvious symptoms in the early stages.

Symptoms of Later Stage Open-Angle Glaucoma

  • Night vision difficulties
  • Blind spots in both eyes
  • Tunnel vision

Immediate Symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma

  • Blurred vision
  • Severe eye pain and headache
  • Nausea
  • Halos around lights

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

  • Age over 60
  • Parents, or especially siblings with glaucoma
  • high intraocular pressure
  • Health issues such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Eye injury/trauma
  • Prior eye surgery
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Alaskans and Japanese are at higher risk)

If you have not had an eye exam in a while, schedule one today. It may be the best defense you have for protecting your vision.

To learn more about glaucoma in Oceanside, California, contact us today.