Glaucoma is a progressive form of eye disease that damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is caused by the eyes being unable to correctly drain fluid which causes pressure to build up in the eye. High pressure in the eye damages the optic nerves and if left untreated, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness.
The most commonly diagnosed form of glaucoma is open angle glaucoma. This occurs when the aqueous fluid in the eye cannot pass the filtration system to reach the drainage channels in the eye. Fluid builds up in the eye causing an increase in the intraocular pressure.This type of glaucoma develops gradually.
Other types of glaucoma, including secondary glaucoma, closed angle glaucoma and congenital glaucoma are a result of genetic problems, injury and sudden intraocular pressure build up.
Contrary to popular belief, glaucoma is not an eye disease affecting the elderly. Glaucoma symptoms can be present in people of all ages with children commonly being affected by blurred vision caused by glaucoma. Opticians can frequently identify the symptoms of early glaucoma during routine eye examinations.
To test for glaucoma, eye specialists will measure the pressure in the eye, check the eye is correctly draining fluid from the lens and will check the optic nerve.
Increased optic pressure in the eye is the primary cause of glaucoma. The shape of the eye is determined by the intraocular pressure - when the pressure in the eye is too high, the eye hardens which causes damage to the optic nerves. The optic nerves are responsible for sending the electrical images to the brain. As the optic nerves become damaged, fewer images reach the brain which means vision loss. Fluid build up in the eye causes the optic pressure to rise.
There are any different types of glaucoma and the cause of glaucoma varies between the types.
If diagnosed early, glaucoma treatment simply involves medication and eye drops to reduce the intraocular pressure in the eye before vision damage occurs.
Advanced glaucoma is treated with a laser eye surgery to drain the excess fluid from the eye and reduce the pressure build up that causes the blurred vision and red eyes.
Eye surgeons use a laser to make a minor scars to the eyes' drainage network to allow fluid to leave the eye and the pressure to decrease.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.