When you develop a disease or illness, you expect to have symptoms. You expect to feel pain or nausea, or even just a little bit unsteady on your feet. But the reality is, disease doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, your body is fighting a battle, and you have no idea.
Glaucoma is a disease that doesn’t usually show any symptoms, slowly reducing your field of vision. By the time you come to realise that you’ve suffered vision loss, the damage is permanent and extensive.
Your eye is filled with fluid. When it’s working properly, this fluid is always moving; draining out of the eye as your body makes more. However, in cases of glaucoma, this fluid does not drain properly, causing the intraocular pressure (IOP) to build. A high IOP level can damage the optic nerve, limiting your eye’s ability to communicate with the brain.
The reason for the lack of drainage in the eye varies based on the type of glaucoma.
This form of glaucoma is the most common, making up around 90% of cases. Open-angle glaucoma refers to scenarios where the angle between the iris and the cornea is wide enough to allow proper drainage, but the actual drainage canals are clogged. This condition moves slowly; developing over a number of years.
Where open-angle glaucoma takes a number of years to develop, angle-closure glaucoma tends to come on quite rapidly. This occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea is not sufficient to allow for the fluid to drain properly. Angle-closure glaucoma is the one form of the disease that actually does show symptoms, which can include severe pain, vomiting or nausea, excessive tears, blurry vision, and glare around lights. If you experience these symptoms, you need to get medical attention immediately.
Normal-tension glaucoma is a good reminder that, in a lot of ways, medical science is still a mystery. This form of the disease occurs when all the drainage structures in the eye appear to be in good working order and the IOP is normal, but the optic nerve still sustains damage for reasons that are unknown.
There are a number of things that can increase your risk of developing glaucoma. Parts of it are genetic, and some races are more likely to experience glaucoma than others. Patients with diabetes are also at a higher risk of glaucoma.
Since glaucoma is asymptomatic, the best way to detect glaucoma is through regular eye exams. Visit us at Keswick Family Eyecare. We’ll look for any signs of glaucoma, and even take you through what your treatment options might be. Book your appointment today.
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76 Arlington Drive, Unit 17
Keswick, ON L4P 0A9
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