The 411 On Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease to the eyes that most of us heard of or are somewhat familiar with but do we really know the symptoms and causes of this complicated disease? For some of us you may answer yes, but for many of us we may not really know what is involved in this problem in which damage to the optic nerve results in vision loss.

There are several forms of glaucoma but the two most common forms are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). For the open angle version there is typically no warning signs. It develops slowly and sometimes without noticeable sight loss for many years. Most people  feel fine and do not notice a change in their vision at first because the initial loss of vision is of side or peripheral vision, and the visual acuity or sharpness of vision is maintained until late in the disease. Unfortunately by the time a patient is aware of vision loss, the disease is usually quite advanced and not reversible with either treatment or with surgery.

Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by blocked drainage canals in the eye, resulting in a sudden rise in pressure in the eye. Symptoms may include hazy or blurred vision, the appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights and possible head and eye pain. This is a much more rare form of glaucoma, which develops very quickly and demands immediate medical attention.

In contrast with open-angle glaucoma, symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are very noticeable and damage occurs quickly. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate care from an ophthalmologist.

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