Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatment: What You Need to Know
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know when it comes to glaucoma symptoms and treatment. Keep reading to learn more.
Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve and can possibly lead to blindness. This disease doesn’t discriminate on who it affects, as it can be found in anyone from newborns to seniors. It is essential to diagnose glaucoma at its early stages so that you can avoid premature blindness.
Keep reading to learn how to keep your eyes healthy and protected!
What is Glaucoma?
Three different types of eye diseases fall under the term glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma (OAG), Closed-angle glaucoma (CAG), and congenital glaucoma. Each of these can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness over time.
Let dive into the specifics on each type of glaucoma and discuss their symptoms and treatment.
Open-Angle Glaucoma (OAG)
This is the most common form of glaucoma in Canada. This is when the fluid in the eye (aqueous humour) doesn’t drain as fast as it should. This build-up typically affects both eyes at the same time and causes gradual damage to the optic nerve. OAG is most commonly found in seniors, and some may not realize they have it until it is quite advanced. If OAG is left too long, there may not be many treatments that will help.
Closed-Angle Glaucoma (CAG)
In contrast to OAG, closed-angle glaucoma isn’t very common in Canada. CAG occurs when the eye drainage angle is blocked and causes fluid build-up. This can happen due to a build-up of scar tissue, a defect in the iris, or the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and the lens blocking the movement of fluid. Usually, only one eye is affected at a time and can quickly escalate and become a medical emergency. Keep reading to find out what you can do in emergency situations.
Congenital glaucoma is the rarest form of glaucoma. It is usually caused by certain birth defects that are the result of an infection during pregnancy or an inherited condition. It is most commonly found in children and young adults. In some cases, infants are born with this disease. This can make it difficult to diagnose, as the person affected may not be able to communicate their symptoms to an adult.
As of today, experts don’t definitively know what causes glaucoma. Some experts have theories that say pressure in the eye causes glaucoma and damages the optic nerve. However, there are many cases that develop in people who do not have excessive pressure in their eyes.
Here are some of the factors that may be causes of increased pressure:
- dilating eye drops
- blocked or restricted eye ducts
- medications such as corticosteroids
- poor blood flow to the optic nerve
- higher than normal blood pressure
There are also certain groups of people that are at higher risk when it comes to developing glaucoma. The risk of developing glaucoma increases for most people over the age of 60 and African American people over 40. In addition to this, people with a family history of OAG or high blood pressure are considered more likely to develop glaucoma.
Don’t lose hope, there are treatment options that will help prevent symptoms from getting worse. There are also many foundations that are working tirelessly to find a cure for this disease.
If you’re wondering “what is the first sign of glaucoma?”, the answer may vary. This is because the first symptoms of each type of this disease can be different. Here’s a breakdown of glaucoma symptoms.
Open-Angle Glaucoma Symptoms
Open-angle glaucoma symptoms can be the hardest to detect as it affects both eyes at once and can come on progressively. Additionally, open-angle glaucoma often starts to deteriorate your peripheral vision first and gradually moves towards the central vision. This is one of the reasons it is so hard to detect, as you may just think that your vision is deteriorating as you age.
Closed-Angle Glaucoma Symptoms
Closed-angle glaucoma symptoms can be mild and can sometimes only last for short periods. However, with severe cases, symptoms can last significantly longer. Typically these symptoms include blurred vision and pain in and around your eye. In addition to this, nausea, red eyes and seeing halos around lights are also symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma.
There is a form of glaucoma that can turn into an emergency. This is called an acute angle closure crisis. It happens when the regular symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma progress at a rapid rate.
When you’re having an acute angle closure crisis, go to your closest ophthalmologist (a doctor who specializes in eyes and eye surgery), or to your closest emergency room. If you decide to go to an emergency room, call ahead to make sure they have an ophthalmologist on call. Keep in mind, if your vision is significantly impaired, be sure to get someone else to drive you.
Congenital Glaucoma Symptoms
Congenital glaucoma is typically found in infants and young children, so it is important to monitor your child for the following signs. Watery eyes, light sensitivity, excessive squinting, excessive eye rubbing, and keeping the eyes closed a majority of the time are all signs of congenital glaucoma.
Catching this disease in its early stages is essential to provide effective treatment. If glaucoma is left too long, the deterioration of the optical nerve cannot be slowed or reversed.
What is the Best Treatment for Glaucoma?
You may be wondering, “can glaucoma be stopped?” Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are a few things you can do to slow the damage to the optic nerve. Treatments can range from eye drops that are used daily, to laser treatments and surgery.
Some of these treatments can be more extensive, which is why it is important to watch out for symptoms and glaucoma as early as possible. This will allow you to have the best opportunity to slow the deterioration of the optic nerve. Contact Wellness Pharmacy and speak with a pharmacist to discuss your specific treatment options.
To sum it up, glaucoma is a unique disease that we don’t know that much about. Its causes are unknown and there is no cure. That being said, there are many treatment options that are readily available and can help prevent the worsening of the symptoms and the condition for most people. The most important thing is to get diagnosed at an early stage. Remember to keep a close eye on your newborn or young child as they may not be able to communicate their symptoms to you.
We hope you enjoyed this post and learned more about the different types of glaucoma. Don’t forget you can always contact us and speak with one of our pharmacists for more information.