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Understanding the Different Types of Glaucoma

Types of Glaucoma

There are several types of glaucoma, all of which can result in damage to the optic nerve. This can result in blindness if left untreated. In most cases, glaucoma is caused by excessive pressure within the eye.

In this post, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons discusses the different types of glaucoma.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most prevalent type of glaucoma. It is caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye that increases pressure. In a healthy eye, fluid produced inside the eye leaves the eye through the drainage angle, which is located where your iris meets your cornea. In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage angle remains open but becomes clogged; fluid drains more slowly from the eye, gradually causing an increase in the pressure inside the eye. The pressure increase generally happens slowly, and symptoms are usually not noticeable.

You have a higher risk of open-angle glaucoma if you have a family history of this disease and/or you are over age 60.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common. It occurs when the drainage angle becomes blocked and fluid is unable to leave the eye. Intraocular pressure spikes very quickly.

Angle-closure glaucoma can develop quickly and usually presents noticeable symptoms. Blurred vision, headaches, and eye pain may all be signs of angle-closure glaucoma that require immediate medical treatment.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged without any increase in intraocular pressure. The exact cause of the optic nerve damage isn’t clearly understood in cases of normal-tension glaucoma.

Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma is an effect of some other eye injury or condition. It may also be caused by other diseases, such as diabetes. Your treatment plan will depend on the cause of your secondary glaucoma.

How Glaucoma is Diagnosed and Treated

Glaucoma doesn’t always present symptoms. The best way to catch glaucoma before it leads to vision problems is to visit your eye doctor regularly and have a full eye exam, which can include:

  • A dilated eye exam
  • Testing your intraocular pressure
  • Vision testing

Glaucoma may be treated with eyedrops, medications and surgery. The effects of glaucoma are permanent, so early detection and an effective treatment plan are critical to preserving your sight. Even if your eyes feel fine, you should get regular eye exams and be aware of your potential risk factors for glaucoma.

Schedule your next eye exam at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons by contacting our Reading, PA office today.

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