What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic never-the part of eye that carries the images we see to the brain. The optic nerve is made up of many never fibers, like an electric cable that consists of numerous wires.
What Causes glaucoma?
A clear liquid called aqueous humor circulates inside the front portion of the eye. To maintain a healthy level of pressure within the eye, a small amount of this fluid is constantly produced, while an equal amount flows out of the eye through a microscopic drainage system (this liquid is not part of the tears on the outer surface of the eye).
Because the eye is a closed structure, if the drainage area for the aqueous humor-called the drainage angle-is blocked, the excess fluid cannot flow out of the eye. Subsequently, fluid pressure within the eye increases, pushing against the optic never and causing damage.
What are the different types of glaucoma?
Chronic open-angle glaucoma. The risk of developing chronic open-angle glaucoma increases with age. The drainage angle of the eye becomes less efficient over time, and the eye becomes sensitive even to normal eye pressure and is therefore at a risk of damage. Treatment is necessary to prevent further vision loss.
Typically, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages, and vision remains normal. However, as the optic nerve is progressively damaged, blank spots begin to appear in the field of vision. You typically won’t notice these blank spots in your day-to-day activities, until the optic nerve is significantly damaged, and these spots become large. If all the optic nerve fibers die, it will result in irreversible blindness.
Closed-angle glaucoma. In some persons, the iris (the colored part of the eye) is too close to the drainage angle. In these eyes, which are often small and farsighted, the iris can be pushed forward, blocking the drainage channel completely. Since the fluid cannot exit the eye, pressure inside the eye rapidly builds up and causes an acute closed-angle attack.