what is glaucoma

To understand what exactly glaucoma is, it's crucial to understand its causes, symptoms, and treatments. Although its impacts on eye health are irreversible, knowing the disease's initial warning signs can help ensure you seek the right kind of help quickly. Here, your need-to-know facts about glaucoma.

What Is Glaucoma?

The term "glaucoma" actually encompasses a range of eye diseases, all of which can cause permanent vision loss if not properly handled. These disorders are often the result of too much pressure being put on the eye, an issue known as intraocular pressure, and sometimes do not show distinct symptoms, making them difficult to diagnose. The resulting blindness stems from optic nerve damage, which prevents your eyes from sending visual information to your brain.

The Two Major Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma comes in many forms, however, there are two main variations.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

The more common of the two main variations, this disorder is also known as primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) or wide angle glaucoma. POAG results from a block in the eye's drainage system, or tubular meshwork, which then limits the movement of aqueous humor, an internal eye liquid. As a result, pressure builds up, harms the optic nerve, and can eventually lead to blindness. Fortunately, POAG is easier to identify than other forms of glaucoma. To help ease symptoms, your doctor may suggest special eye drops or various forms of surgery.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

This variety occurs much faster than POAG due to a swift accumulation of intraocular pressure. Like POAG, Angle-Closure Glaucoma results from a limited flow of aqueous humor. The slow movement typically occurs when the positioning of the cornea and iris creates a too-narrow pathway. Fuzzy eyesight, intense headaches, and nausea are some of the most common side effects , and surgery is often the most viable treatment option.

How To Detect Glaucoma

Once you've answered "what is glaucoma," you can begin to monitor your own eye health for signs of it. Your doctor can perform a tonometry to see if you're experiencing increased pressure on your eyes. Another way to detect glaucoma is to look out for a loss in peripheral vision, which you can do with your doctor using a visual field test. Overall, it's important to schedule consistent exams with your eyecare provider to be sure you catch any issues early. One unfortunate fact about glaucoma is that it's hereditary, so it's also a good idea to review your family history to see how susceptible you may be to the disease.

These glaucoma facts add up to unfortunate statistics, as more than three million Americans currently have the disease. African Americans and people age 40 and older are often the most common sufferers. Knowing exactly what glaucoma is and some facts about detection can help ensure that you make note of any issues as soon as possible and seek out the proper treatment immediately.



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