Glaucoma is a disease that results in a degeneration of the optic nerve and is caused by increased pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and even blindness.
In most patients, glaucoma occurs when pressure inside the eye is at a level sufficient to damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers. It connects the retina to the brain. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision.
There are three main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma – In this type, the angle of the anterior chamber in the eye is open, but it does not function properly. This prevents the fluid inside the eye from draining and causes the pressure in the eye to rise.
- Closed-angle glaucoma – In this type, the angle of the anterior chamber in the eye is closed, or blocked. This prevents the fluid inside the eye from draining and causes the pressure in the eye to rise. In some people, the blockage happens very suddenly and causes severe pain and vision loss. This is called “acute closed-angle glaucoma.” In other people, it happens slowly over time, and might cause periods of headaches. This is called chronic closed-angle glaucoma.
Closed-angle glaucoma is a serious condition and needs to be treated immediately.
- Congenital glaucoma – This happens when a child is born with a defect in the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye that slows the normal drainage of fluid. These children usually have obvious symptoms such as cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing.
This post is also available in: Italian