Glaucoma is an eye condition that is the buildup of pressure within the eyeball. It can and will cause a gradual loss of sight. Experts claim it is a sneaky type of eye disease that develops slowly but can result in sudden loss of eyesight and irreversible blindness if untreated. Specifically, fluid builds behind the eye causing increasing pressure and optic nerve damage.
Estimates show that nearly three million Americans over the age of 40 may have glaucoma but only half are aware they have this condition. Moreover, it is thought to be the leading cause of blindness around the world. People that are especially vulnerable to the disease are those over the age of 60, those who smoke or have diabetes, and the specific ethnic groups of African-Americans and Hispanics. There are two types of glaucoma – the open-angle glaucoma and the angle-closure glaucoma. The first is more common. An eye exam will reveal if the most common symptom, peripheral vision loss, exists. The second type is more easily identified because the eyes will bulge, vision blur and a number of other symptoms will occur simultaneously. In both cases there is blockage of eye drainage that leads to the fluid buildup.
There are treatments that will not reverse the damage but do allow it to be managed and controlled in many instances. One treatment is the use of medicated eye drops. Patients may also undergo in-office laser procedures to help curb the symptoms and keep the disease at bay. In fact, two different laser procedures approach the problem from the area of blockage. Then there is also tradition surgery. This would be recommended if drainage of the eye fluid still exists despite the use of laser surgery or medicated eye drops. Yet another approach to treating the disease is ‘micro-surgery’. This is a newer, less-invasive type of surgery that involves microscopic incisions. To date, the micro-surgery has proven to be less effective but still offers some remedy.