Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and without any symptoms. The pressure inside the eye increases. This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers, which can lead to vision loss. Initially, glaucoma affects peripheral or side vision, but it can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness. Many people are not aware they have the condition until they have significant vision loss. This is why your optometrist checks for glaucoma at every comprehensive eye examination. If glaucoma is diagnosed and treated early, it can usually be controlled. Medication or surgery can slow progression and prevent further vision loss.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a less common type of glaucoma, and it usually occurs abruptly due to a rapid increase of pressure in the eye. Its symptoms may include severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye, seeing halos or colored rings around lights, and blurred vision. This is an emergency condition in which severe vision loss can occur quickly; see your optometrist immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Narrow angle glaucoma can be thought of as a chronic, slow progressing angle closure glaucoma. The angle of the eye is formed where the cornea (clear covering of the eye) meets the iris (color part). This angle may be narrow, simply due to the structure of an individual’s eye, and may continue to narrow as that person ages. If the angle narrows until it closes completely, that person will experience acute angle closure glaucoma. More commonly, the angle may become partially closed, and that person may experience symptoms such as pain, aching, light sensitivity, or redness. Narrow angles are treated by a laser procedure, which helps prevent a sudden increase in pressure that can lead to angle closure glaucoma.
Secondary glaucoma results from an injury or other eye disease. It may be caused by a variety of medical conditions, medications, physical injuries and eye abnormalities. Similar to other forms of glaucoma, secondary glaucoma results in progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers, which can lead to vision loss. Treatment includes eye drops, laser or surgical procedures.
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