Glaucoma

Have you been diagnosed with glaucoma? You’re not alone. Glaucoma is a common group of eye problems that can lead to blindness. It’s important to get treatment.

There are many different possible treatments for glaucoma, including medication, laser surgery and surgery. Talk with your provider to learn about the options that are right for you.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve in your eye. Fluid may build in the front part of your eye, which causes pressure. Many people do not know they have glaucoma.

Diagnosed early, glaucoma can be treated. Left untreated, it can cause severe vision loss or blindness.

Glaucoma symptoms

Most of the time, there are no symptoms with glaucoma, and it is diagnosed in an advanced stage.

However, with the most severe form of glaucoma -- called acute angle closure glaucoma -- the onset is sudden. It is a medical emergency. People with this form of glaucoma are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of blurry vision

  • Rainbow colored circles around bright lights when you look at them

  • Eye and head pain that is severe

  • Vomiting or nausea along with eye pain

  • Suddenly not being able to see well or at all

Diagnosing glaucoma

An eye exam can lead to a diagnosis of glaucoma.  Glaucoma is diagnosed if the pressure in your eye is too high. 

The eye pressure is measured with a special instrument that uses a puff of air or a very quick touch to the eye.  Your doctor may also evaluate the rest of your eye using other instruments.

Glaucoma treatment

Treatment for glaucoma may include:

  • Eye drops

  • Medication

  • Laser surgery

     

Who's at risk for glaucoma?

Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people are at higher risk of glaucoma.

The following are risk factors:

  • Family history of glaucoma

  • Steroid use

  • Being over the age of 60

  • History of eye injury

  • Extreme nearsightedness

  • High blood pressure

  • Diabetes

Glaucoma types

There are three primary types of glaucoma:

Open angle: The eye’s drainage canals get clogged over time, which causes pressure to build. There are few symptoms and no pain. The disease is usually advanced by the time it is detected.

Acute angle closure: The eye’s drainage canals get clogged suddenly and the pressure builds quickly. Onset is sudden, with blurred vision, severe eye pain and rainbow circles appearing around bright lights. There are no warnings. It is a medical emergency.

Normal tension: Eye pressure is normal, but the optic nerve is damaged. There are few symptoms and no pain. The disease is usually advanced by the time it is detected.

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