Taking a Look Into Glaucoma

Glaucoma usually occurs when pressure in the eye increases. This can happen when fluid isn't circulating properly in the front part of the eye.

Normally, this fluid, flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel is blocked, fluid builds up, causing glaucoma. The direct cause of this blockage is unknown, but doctors do know that it can be inherited. Rare causes of glaucoma include a direct or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, obstruction of blood vessels in the eye, inflammatory conditions of the eye, and infrequently eye surgery to correct another condition. Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but it may involve each eye to a different degree.

Types of Glaucoma

"Open-angle" means that the angle where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be. Open-angle glaucoma is also called primary or chronic glaucoma. It is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting about three million Americans.

Open-angle glaucoma, accounting for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases, is caused by the slow obstruction of the drainage canals, resulting in increased eye pressure and a wide and open angle between the iris and cornea. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and is a lifelong condition and has symptoms and damage that are not noticed.

Congenital Glaucoma occurs in children when there is incorrect or incomplete development of the eye's drainage canals during the prenatal period. This is an uncommon condition that may be inherited. Microsurgery can usually correct the structural defects. Other cases are treated with medication and surgery.

Angle-closure glaucoma, a less common form of glaucoma, is caused by blocked drainage canals, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure. It is also called acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing, it develops very quickly, the symptoms and damage are usually very noticeable and immediate medical attention is necessary.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma also called low-tension glaucoma. In low-tension glaucoma the optic nerve is damaged even though the eye pressure is not high. The reason why some people's optic nerves are damaged even though they have almost normal pressure levels is still unknown.

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