What is Glaucoma?

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is optic nerve damage from too high eye pressure for you (each individual is different and what qualifies as high for each individual).
Lowering of intraocular pressure (IOP) is vital to glaucoma treatment.  There are other risk factors as well.  IOP varies during a 24-hr period and with position.  Higher fluctuation and higher peak IOP is correlated with worsening vision loss.

How does the eye doctor monitor glaucoma?
A complete eye exam including intraocular pressure, gonioscopy, pachymetry, optic nerve appearance and clinical testing such as OCT and visual field testing.
Following all measurements over time to check for progression of disease.

What are the types of glaucoma?
There are many types of glaucoma. The two main types include primary open angle glaucoma and angle closure or narrow angle glaucoma. Other types of glaucoma include: congenital, traumatic, pseudoexfoliation, and pigmentary/pigment dispersion syndrome.

What are the risk factors for Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG)?
The main risk factors are age and race as well as genetics. The risk for glaucoma increases with age in everyone. Certain races are more prone to develop glaucoma. There is some association with glaucoma and smoking, diabetes, sleep apnea, and chronic steroid use. If you have a family history of glaucoma, it is important to have your eyes checked on a regular basis.

What are the risk factors for Narrow Angle or Angle Closure Glaucoma (NAG or ACG)?
Narrow angle glaucoma develops from an anatomical predisposition based on the shape of your eyes. There are certain drugs that precipitate an angle closure attack, which if untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. The symptoms and signs of an angle closure attack include headache, pain in the eye, pain around the eye, red eye, dilated pupil, nausea, vomiting, sudden blurry vision or loss of vision. If you have these symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. There is rare subset of narrow angle patients who may have plateau iris syndrome where the eye remains narrow even after treatment for narrow angles and may require additional treatment.

Figure from Qatar Med J. 2015; 2015(1): 6.

What is the treatment for glaucoma?

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What is Glaucoma? EyeSmart Website
What is Glaucoma? NIH Website
What is Glaucoma? Prevent Blindness America
Glaucoma Treatment – Eyesmart Website
Narrow Angle Glaucoma – YouTube Video