What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage your optic nerve and cause vision loss. The disease usually develops when intraocular pressure (IOP) levels slowly rise over time, often with no noticeable symptoms. This has earned the disease the nickname “the Silent Thief of Sight,“.
Not all forms of glaucoma develop the exact same way, and particular circumstances can vary from patient to patient. There are 4 common types of glaucoma:
Open-angle glaucoma, also known as primary glaucoma, is the most common type and is responsible for nearly 90% of all Canadian cases.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle between your iris and cornea remains open, but intraocular fluids aren’t draining properly. This could be due to blockages in the trabecular meshwork.
When your eyes are unable to drain fluids, your IOP levels rise. For a reason unknown to doctors, this pressure damages the optic nerve and causes permanent vision loss.
Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle between the iris and cornea closes, blocking intraocular fluids from draining. This raises your IOP levels quite rapidly, often resulting in sudden and permanent vision loss.
When this happens, you may also experience eye pain, redness, nausea, headaches, or glares and halos around light sources.
Closed-angle glaucoma is considered a medical emergency, so please reach out to our team or visit your nearest emergency room immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Normal-tension glaucoma is a unique version of the disease because it occurs without raising your IOP levels. However, our team can detect and diagnose normal-tension glaucoma by observing your optic nerve for damage during an eye exam.
Secondary glaucoma occurs when injuries, inflammation, or medication block the fluid draining mechanism in your eye, resulting in higher IOP levels. The symptoms may be similar to open-angle or closed-angle glaucoma, and treatment may differ depending on what caused the disease.