March 9-15 is Glaucoma Awareness Week (Part 1): What is Glaucoma?

March 9-15 is Glaucoma Awareness Week (Part 1): What is Glaucoma?
It’s Glaucoma Awareness Week from March 9 to 15. Learn how you can protect your eyes from possible vision loss and determine what causes this eye condition.

Every now and then a disease comes entering a person’s life and changes everything. This year, Glaucoma Awareness Week aims to save millions of lives from suffering from the condition. There are so many types of glaucoma, which is why there are many challenges that hinder individuals and organizations from properly promoting awareness for this specific eye condition.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that involve a damaged optic nerve, which has been known to lead to progressive, irreversible blindness. It is currently the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. The most common reason as to why the optic nerve gets damaged is due to a heightened pressure in the eye, which is also known as intraocular pressure. This high pressure pushes the optic nerve, damages it, and gives a person blind spots that affect eyesight.

How does the disease develop?

To those who are unfamiliar with the eye’s anatomy, the front part of our eyes is filled with aqueous humor. This is a clear, gel-like fluid that is produced in the area behind the colored part of the eye called the iris. The aqueous humor leaves the eye through certain channels where the cornea and iris meet. This specific area is known as the anterior chamber angle, or just simply called the angle. The cornea is the thin, clear layer covering the front of the eye, which protects the iris, pupil, and angle. The wisest thing to do is to have your eye checked by an experienced Arizona eye doctor so as to determine whether you have the condition or are exhibiting signs and symptoms.

Anything that causes the natural flow to slow down or get blocked will lead to a buildup. There condition has four main types, which are:

 

  • Open-Angle – In an open-angle glaucoma, the increase in pressure is usually small and gradual. The cause is usually unknown and it happens over time, usually going on for a long time without rousing suspicion.

  • Closed-Angle – Also called angle-closure glaucoma, this type of condition involves a high level of eye pressure that occurs suddenly. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, the condition is considered as an emergency as the fluid is suddenly blocked, causing a severe increase in eye pressure. The liquid cannot flow out of the eye. What is more troubling is that if you have acute closed-angle glaucoma in one eye, then your second eye can also experience the same.

  • Secondary – The cause for secondary glaucoma is usually known, it can be either open- or closed-angle and occurs as a result of something that has been known to cause such a condition. Some of these causes include the following:

    • Certain drugs (e.g. corticosteroids)

    • Eye drops that cause dilation

    • Certain eye diseases (e.g. uveitis)

    • Diabetes

    • Injuries to the Eyes

  • Congenital – As the name suggests, this particular eye condition often runs in families and is inherited. Most of those diagnosed with congenital glaucoma are babies. They are present at birth and are caused when the eye does not fully develop.

Symptoms of this disease vary depending on the type, so it would be best to have your eyes checked by a trusted Arizona eye doctor like Dr. Gholam Peyman of Arizona Retinal Specialists. A simple eye checkup could just be the one thing that would help you save your eyesight. Do not hesitate to schedule an appointment today by visiting their website.