Depending on the severity of the case, glaucoma is typically treated with surgery, medication (eye drops), or lasers. Eye drops used for lowering eye pressure are normally tried first to control glaucoma.
However, not following specific instructions for prescription medications is a serious cause for blindness brought on by glaucoma.
It is very important to not stop taking your medication without discussing your situation with your eye doctor!
Normally glaucoma is associated with high pressure inside the eyes, known as Ocular Hypertension. If untreated, glaucoma will harm peripheral vision and can eventually cause blindness. Behind cataracts, the World Health Organization credits glaucoma as the second leading cause of blindness.
There are several different types of glaucoma, and each has its own cause and symptoms. The following is a brief explanation of each type of glaucoma and its specific symptoms:
Open-angle Glaucoma – The most common type of glaucoma. When the eye’s ability to drain fluid becomes less efficient, fluid builds and pressure rises inside the eye damaging the optic nerve. In the early stages, vision can remain normal and no symptoms may be experienced. However, if the optic nerve continues to be harmed, you may experience:
Closed-angle Glaucoma – A less common type of glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma tends to put Asians and people with hyperopia (farsightedness) at a higher risk level for developing this type of glaucoma. This type happens when the drainage angle of the eye closes or becomes blocked. Sometimes the glaucoma attack happens gradually (chronic), or it may be sudden (acute). This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency that can cause vision loss within a day’s time. People at risk should avoid over-the-counter medications that state not to use if you have glaucoma. Symptoms of an attack may include:
Normal-tension Glaucoma – In this type of glaucoma, eye pressure remains within what is considered to be the “normal” range, but the optic nerve is still damaged anyway. Why this happens is still unknown.
Congenital Glaucoma is a less common type of inherited glaucoma that is found in infants and young children, typically more so in boys. It can be difficult to spot signs and symptoms of congenital glaucoma, because children have a hard time grasping what’s happening with their eyes. If you notice any of the following symptoms with your child, contact your eye doctor immediately.
Secondary Glaucoma is the result of other eye conditions. For example, an eye injury, long-term steroid therapy, eye infection, a tumor or enlargement of the lens from a cataract.