Glaucoma, also referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” affects the vision of millions of people worldwide. It damages the optic nerve and leads to irreversible damage and vision loss. But exactly how fast does this condition strike? Understanding the onset of glaucoma can be essential to preserving your sight as well as your quality of life. Below, Dr. Khouri at Palm Beach Eye Center discusses the stages of glaucoma and things you can do to protect your vision.
Two Major Types of Glaucoma
The severity and progression of your glaucoma depends on the type of glaucoma you have. The eye produces fluid, called aqueous humor, constantly. As new fluid is produced, old fluid should drain out in equal amounts. This helps keep the pressure in the eye stable. Glaucoma occurs when this process does not work properly. If the eye cannot effectively drain excess fluid, pressure can build up and lead to optic nerve damage. The two major types of glaucoma are:
Open-angle glaucoma: The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. It progresses gradually, damaging the structures of the eye with little to no symptoms experienced by the patient. This type of glaucoma does not cause vision loss initially.
Closed-angle glaucoma: This is also called “angle-closure glaucoma and occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea, where fluid drainage occurs, becomes very narrow. This can cause a rapid increase in eye pressure. This type of glaucoma can lead to blindness if treatment is not administered quickly.
Symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma include:
- Sudden onset of blurry vision
- Severe pain in the eye
- Halo or colored rings around lights
Protecting Your Vision
Protecting your vision starts with regular eye exams that test for glaucoma. Those with higher than usual pressure in the eye may be categorized as “glaucoma suspects,” as hypertension in the eye is associated with the condition. The following may be at risk for glaucoma:
- People 40 and older
- Those who have family members with glaucoma
- People with high eye pressure
- Individuals with certain conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Individuals with a Hispanic or African American background
Contact Palm Beach Eye Center
The only way to know for sure if you have glaucoma is to receive a diagnosis. The team at Palm Beach Eye Center are committed to helping you protect your vision from the effects of glaucoma with early intervention and other measures. To schedule your eye exam, contact Palm Beach Eye Center today.