Glaucoma – The Different Types of the Disease
Glaucoma is not a single disease but the name of the group of eye diseases which, if left untreated, can result in serious vision loss or blindness. The two primary types of this glaucoma are: Primary open-angle glaucoma (the most common) and Angle-closure glaucoma. Both types of glaucoma have the same root cause: a build-up of natural fluids in the eye due caused by improper or blocked drainage of the eye. The excess fluid builds dangerous pressure in your eye which can cause permanent and irreparable damage to your optic nerve.
Like many issues with the eye, both types of glaucoma occur gradually and painlessly over time. Most often, this occurs unnoticed. Once symptoms are noticed, the damage to your vision may be severe and irreversible which is why periodic eye exams are always recommended.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
This occurs when the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should, similar to a clogged drain. This usually results in a build-up of pressure in the eye which will start to slowly damage the optic nerve. In its early stages, open-angle glaucoma has no obvious symptoms; however, as the disease progresses, someone with this disease would start to notice decreased peripheral vision. By the time their central vision starts to be impacted, which could take as long as several years, the disease is far along. At this point, visiting an ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma treatment should occur immediately.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma is most commonly known as Closed-Angle Glaucoma or Narrow Angle Glaucoma. Much like open-angle glaucoma, most people develop angle-closure glaucoma over an extended period of time, often without realizing it. Unlike Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, when symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma do appear, they occur suddenly and often very painfully. Headaches and eye pain are common and your vision may suddenly worsen. This type of glaucoma happens when the iris sits too close to the drainage angle in the eye, thus not allowing enough fluid to drain. Think of a piece of paper blocking the flow of water over the sink drain. The water builds over time before overflowing and becoming noticeable. When this happens it is known as acute angle-closure or a narrow-angle glaucoma attack. At this point, the disease is dangerously far along and may be causing permanent damage to your eyes and vision. Should this occur, you should see an ophthalmologist immediately.